Demonstrators rally against paying 38 Studios debt

About 25 people gathered outside the State House on Thursday to rally against paying back the debt left by the failure of 38 Studios.

Rhode Island taxpayers are on the hook for about $90 million to cover a state-backed loan to Curt Schilling's defunct video game company.

The debate on whether to default has been going on for weeks.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the state must pay the debt to protect its credit rating. He has included a $12.5 million payment in his budget proposal.

But critics say taxpayers shouldn't have to pay back the "moral obligation" bonds, which have no binding repayment requirement.

The demonstrators were a mix of Occupy Providence members who are anti-Wall Street and civil libertarians who are opposed to too much government regulation.

"We see this as another scam of the 1 percent versus the 99 percent, similar to the '08 bailout of the Wall Street banks," said Paul Hubbard of Occupy Providence.

"I'm not precisely opposed to repaying the bonds. I'm opposed to the climate of coercion or extortion where people claim in the name of the institutions of property and contract that we need to pay the bonds back," Brian Bishop of the Hopkins Center for Civil Rights.

Moody's and Standard & Poor's have warned of downgrades if the state defaults, which would make borrowing more expensive.

A lawsuit brought by the former Economic Development Corp. is seeking to recover some of the money.