taxes

Rhode  Island hotels and restaurants are doing more  business lately. And that's good news for their businesses and state coffers.

That's the subject of this week's Bottom Line. The Providence and Warwick Visitors Bureau's Martha Sheridan joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon, along with Providence Business News editor Mark Murphy to do the numbers.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50 pm.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello emerged in March with a strong hold on what is commonly called the state's most powerful political office. Following the unveiling of a probe of former speaker Gordon Fox, Mattiello won a brief succession fight and pledged a stronger focus on jobs and the economy. Mattiello sat down last week to discuss his first few months as speaker and some of the top issues facing the state, including his choice for governor and Buddy Cianci's latest comeback attempt.

West Warwick Residents Approve Critical Budget

May 23, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Residents of West Warwick have passed a town budget that scales back services and raises taxes as part of an effort to avoid a financial crisis.  The move is a early step for the town's path to fiscal stability.

The $86.3 million budget comes with plenty of concessions, including cuts in town programs, a 2.9 percent increase in property taxes, and reductions to public employee pensions. But town manager Frederick Presley said the concessions are necessary if West Warwick wants to avoid bankruptcy.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has proposed a budget that excludes any tax hike for residents or businesses. The proposed 112-million dollar budget includes buying a rescue vehicle to cut overtime costs, giving schools 600-thousand extra dollars, and setting aside money in the rainy day fund. Grebien said the arrival of new businesses, cuts in city staff, and grant revenue helped craft the budget.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung on Tuesday unveiled a $200 million tax-cutting proposal that he billed as a way to jump-start Rhode Island's economy.

file / RIPR

Cranston residents will face no property tax increase next year under a budget proposed Tuesday night by Mayor Allan Fung. He has submitted a $262 million spending plan that would fully fund the city’s annual pension obligations while not hiking property taxes.

The average Cranstonian pays $5,000 a year in property taxes. Fung admits that’s high, but says just keeping taxes from rising has been a challenge given state funding cuts and the devastation caused by the great flood of 2010.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State legislators are set to focus attention on the issue of growing economic disparity by viewing the Robert Reich documentary "Inequality For All" Wednesday afternoon. Yet there's little consensus on the most controversial way to tackle the issue -- raising the state income tax for upper-income Rhode Islanders.

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.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins the Political Roundtable this week as we discuss the troubled rollout of Obamacare; back and forth over pensions; the merits of tax stabilization in Providence; and the Democratic race for lieutenant governor.

The Red Sox win big, politics never takes a holiday, and the calendar turns to November, marking the one-year mark until Rhode Island's next general election. Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to send me tips and feedback at idonnis (at) ripr (org) and to follow my short takes via Twitter. Let's head in.

This week marked the one-year point until Rhode Island's decisive 2014 primary. Welcome back to my Friday column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to stay posted via Twitter. Let's head in.

Bryant University

The General Assembly has passed legislation requiring Bryant University to make payments to the town of Smithfield. The university is calling the bill “heavy handed.”

Unless Smithfield and Bryant can come to an agreement, the legislation allows the town to bill the university for municipal services it uses. The non-profit university sits on some 420 acres of land that state Senator Stephen Archambault said would generate $2 million in yearly taxes.

Tax Hike For Woonsocket Residents

May 23, 2013

A tax hike is on the way for Woonsocket residents. The House has passed a supplemental tax leaving home owners with additional $240 dollars a year 5 year period.  The tax will help close the city’s 17 million dollar budget gap. Woonsocket City Councilman Roger Jalette says he does not support the proposal.

It's Tax Day in Rhode Island

Apr 15, 2013

Monday is the deadline for filing state and federal income taxes.

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation says state returns are coming in slightly slower than last year because of last minute changes to the federal tax code. As of last week, 75 percent of Rhode Islanders had filed. That’s down about three percent from last year. However, refunds are up three percent to an average of $530.

Neil Downing, a chief revenue agent for the state Division of Taxation, said people who file late pay significant penalties.

Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, joins us on Bonus Q+A to talk about the center's mission, its proposal to eliminate the sales tax, its report card on Rhode Island's competitiveness, and other issues.

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