A proposed tax plan offered by state lawmakers would cause the state to lose jobs and if it passes “we will lose large employers like ESPN,” according to Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.
Fedele, a Republican, told party officials in
Mayor Art Ward, a Democrat, also took issue with the revenue measure approved by a legislative committee that would sock ESPN for millions of dollars.
That bill had the support of state Rep. Chris Wright, a freshman Democrat from
The sections that would hike taxes for ESPN, Wright said, were part of “a larger overall package” that backed.
“I didn’t want to vote to kill the overall bill,” Wright said, even though he is “doing all I can to see what we can do about that part” of the measure before a final plan is approved.
"We are having constructive dialogue with state officials," Mike Soltys, an ESPN vice president, said Monday. But, he said, at this point "it's too early to tell" the outcome.
Wright said the focus has shifted to the appropriations panel and its work on reducing spending.
He said that if the spending side of the budget can be cut, then legislators can take another look at the revenue proposals included in the finance measure he supported.
Hopefully, Wright said, “we can take some of those provisions” that ESPN doesn’t like out of the bill before final passage.
Soltys said ESPN is unhappy about efforts to remove sales tax exemptions on broadcast equipment purchases that’s been in place since 1982.
Another proposal would end the tax waiver for purchase of time using satellite or fiber signals, a potentially costly change for the sports broadcast giant.
There are at least two other provisions in the bill that ESPN is pushing to have removed.
The large tax hikes sought by Democrats, Fedele said, “are unacceptable in these times. Companies do have options.”
The Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce is also pushing to kill provisions in the proposed tax plan that would hurt ESPN.
The company, which is a division of Walt Disney Co., has said that it has invested more than $600 million in property and facilities in
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