News came recently of a push by labor and other organizations to drum up support for a tax hike on Rhode Island’s wealthiest two percent:
A coalition of organized labor and advocates for the disabled and the homeless in Rhode Island rallied at the State House on Tuesday, asking state lawmakers to raise taxes on wealthy residents to prevent further budget cuts.
“Those bills would temporarily reverse tax breaks given to those making more than $250,000 a year, bringing the rate back to 9.99 percent per year,” said Jim Riley of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Some call it taxing the rich; the coalition calls it tax equity.
“This is not us versus them. This is about shared sacrifice,” Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien said.
The proposal would raise $118 million a year, or almost enough to eliminate the state’s projected deficit for next year.
One of the sponsors in the Senate explained the state needs to get money from somewhere.
“Is it a car tax? Is it a property tax? Is it an arbitrary sales tax? All those policies are not fair to the working men and women of Rhode Island,” state Sen. Josh Miller, D-Cranston, said.
Some Republicans have dragged out the common response to such a suggestion, fear-mongering about Rhode Island remaining ‘competitive’ and welcoming to rich people. NBC10 indicates that 37 sponsors in the House have aligned with the effort, “practically enough to pass it,” though the legislature’s top brass may not be on board.
In a separate matter of Rhode Island taxation, protestors plan to dump tea in to Waterplace Basin to rally against a proposed ‘meals tax’:
On Wednesday, March 21, Rhode Island residents will declare that “10 percent is 2 much” by holding a tax revolt on the south lawn of the Rhode Island State House.
Protesters will gather on the lawn at 1 p.m. Wednesday, march to Waterplace Basin, then dump tea into the river.
Governor Lincoln Chafee’s proposal to raise the meals and beverage tax from 8 percent to 10 percent “unfairly targets one of the only industries in Rhode Island to create jobs and show growth in recent quarters,” according to a news release from the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, which is holding the event in conjunction with the Rhode Island Tea Party.
“This proposal will not only stall that growth, but will likely undue much of it,” it reads. “Every Rhode Islander benefits from a vibrant hospitality/tourism industry. By making this sector less competitive, every Rhode Island resident will be hurt.”