Rhode Island sales tax repeal being studied - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


Rhode Island sales tax repeal being studied

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis


Rhode Island businesses might be ringing up "no" sales tax some day.

A new commission is looking at sales tax repeal.

An East Providence woman is one of many who shops in Massachusetts to pay less in sales tax.

But if Rhode Island goes to zero, she'll shop at home.

"I would definitely shop in Rhode Island a lot more. I wouldn't have to come down to Massachusetts, because I know from me, every penny counts," said April Auclair who lives in Rhode Island, but shops in Massachusetts.

And would Massachusetts residents come to a sales–tax free Rhode Island?

"Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. Especially big ticket items," said Tom Davis, a shopper from Massachusetts.

Right now the Ocean State sales tax is 7 percent; it's 6 and a quarter percent in the Bay State.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "A special commission will look at the prospects of getting rid of the sales tax but ultimately that decision is up to the General Assembly.

So Rhode island will do a pilot study; getting rid of the seven percent alcohol tax, to compete with Massachusetts, which has zero tax on booze.

Rhode Island State Rep. Jan Malik, who owns a liquor store, believes tax cuts will work. "Well I think so," said, Malik, "I mean I am a business owner who just went through two and a half years of hell, with the difference of sales tax issues."

But some in Rhode Island worry how the state will pay its bills with no sales tax.

Video store owner Dion Oliveira said, "If they get rid of the sales tax altogether, they're going to have to increase taxes somewhere else or they are going to have to decrease spending somewhere else."

Oliveira believes reducing the sales tax would be better than eliminating it altogether.


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