Will Rhode Island's Sales Tax Be Abolished? - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


Will Rhode Island's Sales Tax Be Abolished?

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis


The battle to eliminate or lower the sales tax in Rhode Island has finally come to the State House.

Every year thousands of people in the Ocean State cross to places such as Seekonk, Massachusetts, to save money because of a lower sales tax.

State Rep. Jan Malik (D-RI) said, "One-third of Rhode Island cities and towns are border communities; bordering on a state with lower sales tax. As of May 1st of this year the Massachusetts sales tax is 6.25 percent."

And Malik would know. His liquor store in Warren loses business because Massachusetts has zero sales tax on booze, compared to 7 percent in Rhode Island.

And former pet store owner Don Russell told the House Finance Committee excessive sales tax forced his East Providence business to close, after he could not longer pay the state.

Don Russell, a former pet store owner said, "The economy kept going, going, going, and I lost my lease. I had to close."

But, the Finance  Committee has skeptics.

The sales tax will bring in almost one billion dollars to Rhode Island this year.

Some wonder how government would replace that.

State Rep. Raymond Hull (D-RI) said, "The loss of that revenue, in this state and its operations, is maybe at a disadvantage."

But supporters predict cutting or eliminating the sales tax would bring Rhode Island more shoppers, new businesses; and predicted 25 thousand new jobs.

Mike Stenhouse from the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity said, "We have particularly high youth unemployment.  Those retail jobs would give thousands and thousands of youngsters a chance to get into the workforce and start earning that valuable experience."



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