New Details Emerge in RI Budget; "38 Studios" Still Haunts - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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New Details Emerge in RI Budget; "38 Studios" Still Haunts

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By ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis  

mcurtis@abc6.com

The General Assembly tries to wrap up business by the end of June, so the clock is ticking. Among the items on the table - a proposed reduction in the estate tax - paid by families when a loved one dies. It's known as the "death tax." Another idea, cutting the state's corporate tax from 9 to 7 percent, to attract new businesses.

 "You're going to lure in more companies. You know you are going to retain the ones that you have and you might even lure in some that want to be here, because we do offer great things here. We have infrastructure, we're near water, we have rail; we have air," said State Rep. Anthony Giarrusso, (R) East Greenwich-West Greenwich.

Critics have long said the high death tax and high corporate taxes have driven people and companies out of Rhode Island:  

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "If the budget proposal is approved as is, it would close a $67 million dollar state deficit. But not everybody is happy about what is included."

Clearly the most controversial item is another $12 million dollars to pay back “38 Studios” bond holders. Most Republicans - and a growing number of Democrats - are opposed to that, especially with former Speaker Gordon Fox still under investigation.  

"My position is clear. I don't think we should pay it... these are very disconcerting issues, or concerning issues I should say. And I certainly want those answered before we begin the process of paying this back," said State Rep. John Lombardi (D) Providence.

“I don't think the taxpayers had their say. And now they are stuck with the bill. I'm not buying it," added Republicans State Rep. Giarrusso.

The new budget proposal would also eliminate the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Once the General Assembly is done with the budget, Governor Chafee can only approve or veto the entire bill. He can't pick and chose to eliminate items he does not like.
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