Some good news for Rhode Island’s state budget: income and sales tax receipts are up over last year’s totals.
That’s the report from the state Department of Revenue comparing state revenues through October with the same period last year. Income tax collections are 3 percent about last year and sales levies are up 4.3 percent, according to data released today.
On a more sober note, state gambling tax collections are down 1.3 percent from the same period last year.
The rising number of casinos in New England that’s hurting the Foxwoods Resort Casino is both a threat to table games in Rhode Island and the reason to add more.
Analyst Clyde Barrow said the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut has been losing millions of dollars since its peak in 2006. To blame: a slow economic recovery and a growing number of casinos in New England.
Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino has been a stalwart booster of Buddy Cianci’s redemption tour. But now that Cianci has filed for election for Providence mayor and Charles Mansolillo has been appointed Cianci’s campaign manager, Paolino is turning his political attention to Newport, where he is part of a group that wants to buy and improve the Newport Grand gambling emporium.
(Rhode Island being Rhode Island, Paolino and Mansolillo are well-acquainted; the two ran against each other for mayor in 1986 in a campaign won comfortably by Paolino).
In what the Senate president called “an abundance of caution” the state senate voted again and approved a bill putting casino gambling in Newport on the November ballot.
Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says the governor’s legal counsel was worried that the part of the bill giving $1.5 million dollars to Newport would be considered an appropriation. And appropriation measures need a two-thirds majority, or 26 votes. It got only 24 votes in the final hours of the session.
Rhode Island’s gaming industry may get a major boost. Massachusetts residents will decide if they want to get rid of all casino gambling in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts casinos would pose direct competition to the Ocean State’s gaming revenue.
Two casinos have already been approved in Massachusetts: a resort-style in Springfield and a slot parlor in Plainville. The slot parlor would be fewer than twenty miles from Rhode Island’s Twin River casino in Lincoln. But the new ruling could allow Commonwealth voters to stop that project dead in its tracks.