Gov. Chafee Budget Proposal Includes New Taxes and Tax Hikes

Governor Chafee unveils his budget plan at the State House with his thoughts on how to close a 120 million dollar deficit in Rhode Island.
It's a budget proposal full of new taxes and tax hikes.

The governor admitted Tuesday the budget he's putting forth isn't ideal. There are what he calls painful cuts in it and taxes a lot of you will see when you go out to eat, buy cigarettes, or get your driver's license.

Under Governor Chafee's budget, you'll be taxed two percent more when you go out to eat, from 8 to 10 percent. You'll also pay extra for cigarettes, driver's licenses and pet grooming.     

The governor said his priority is more funding for education and cities and towns. “I know this will be controversial,” said Governor Chafee, “But the money we raise will go to the most important investment we can make, educating our young people and helping the property tax payer.”

The governor's budget will now be in the hands of lawmakers. The speaker and senate president were vague when pressed about the tax proposals.

“At this point, I think the commitment is that the speaker, the governor and I, taxes are our last resort,” said Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed.

“Taxes should be last, but it's a balanced budget and we have to have a balanced budget and take care of needs so we're looking at it broadly,” said House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Brian Newberry didn't have any problem slamming the governor on his tax proposals.

“Because I don't support tax increases,” said Newberry, “There's no need for them in this state. Taxes are way to high as they are already and they should be cut.”

 A big part of the governor's budget was aid to cities and towns. Cranston Mayor Fung said he likes the idea, but wonders how the governor is going to make that happen.     

This budget will now go to the finance committees of the House and Senate. The final budget will be hammered out by June 30th.