Fox Sounds Cautious Note on Proposed Sales Tax Cut

Dec 17, 2013

Advocates of eliminating or cutting Rhode Island's sales tax will make their last stand on December 30, for now at least, before a legislative commission presents its findings and recommendation to Smith Hill leadership. Yet House Speaker Gordon Fox isn't rushing to embrace proponents' argument that reducing the tax would be an economic catalyst.

Fox's spokesman, Larry Berman, says the speaker will carefully review the recommendations from the Special Joint Legislative Commission to Study the Sales Tax Repeal.

In a statement, Berman continues: "He [Fox] is always open to discussing changes to our tax structure to ensure that Rhode Island is competitive with our neighboring states, but he is also mindful that the sales tax generates nearly $900 million in revenue for the state. That is the second largest source of revenue after the income tax and is used to support critical programs such as education, transportation and infrastructure.”

Following seven meetings, the panel is expected to reports its findings and recommendations by February 6.

The discussion this afternoon will include a presentation by Mike Stenhouse and Justin Katz from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, on the implications of cutting the sales tax to 3 percent. Also slated to appear are two representatives from Regional Economic Models. 

The latest meeting had been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Katz tweets that it has been postponed to December 30 because of the weather.