Woonsocket Council Prez Ward Concerned About Possible Tax Hit for CVS

Mar 7, 2013

Woonsocket City Council President John Ward is concerned that jobs provided by CVS Caremark Corporation could vanish if the company loses a big chunk of a state tax credit.

"Based on their reaction, I'm a little concerned," Ward said, referring to how CVS lobbyist Robert Goldberg said the company may reconsider its ties to Rhode Island if it loses part of a job development tax credit worth about $15 million a year.

Speaking during a taping Thursday of RIPR's Political Roundtable (airing at 5:40 an 7:40 am Friday), Ward says the jobs that get CVS the tax credit are "often at the lower end of the [wage] spectrum and in many cases it's related to what is a well spreadout group of warehouses that CVS has in the state."

To some, such tax credits are corporate welfare. But Ward says he's fearful that if CVS decides to make a move:

"As a reaction to this, their first move will be to look up on the Mass [Turn]pike or [Interstate] 84 to build one of their regional mega-warehouses. And that would effectively wipe out very stable laborers' jobs, so to speak, and clerical type jobs in the city of Woonsocket and surrounding area, and that would be devastating to the community. It would just be awful. And I'm very nervous about how this is going to play out."

Governor Chafee proposed cutting the job development tax credit in his latest budget, to help fund a reduction in the corporate tax rate, from 9 to 7 percent, over three years.