Rhode Island Budget Battle Moves to State Senate

While the House has approved an eight billion dollar Rhode Island budget, it’s by no means a done deal as it moves to the Senate. Some lawmakers like cutting the corporate tax from nine to seven percent, in hopes of filling vacant buildings.

“Which is hopefully going to help Rhode Island level playing field of trying to compete with other states, which try to have businesses – number one – stay in Rhode Island, but number two, try to attract businesses, but we’ve got a long way to go,” said State Sen. Lou Raptakis, (D) Coventry.

Others believe cutting the estate tax when people die, will also help our economy.

“Removing the estate tax is something that’s going to help middle class families stay in Rhode Island, rather than to elect to take residency out of state,” said State Sen. Dawson Hodgson, (R) East Greenwich-North Kingstown.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “If the Senate approves the same budget bill as the House, one thing that will be going up in Rhode Island is the inspection fees for cars and trucks.”

Registration fees and gas tax would rise, too, and that’s where some draw the line.

“People in this state do not have the income, to pay an increase in fees,” said Senator Raptakis.

And certainly the biggest fight will be over repaying the “38 Studios” bond holders.

“I intend to vote against the and against the payment of the ‘38 Studios’ bond as a statement of my disapproval,” said Senator Hodgson.

“As I stand right now, no 12 point 1 million dollars payout for ‘38 studios’ until this issue is resolved,” said Senator Raptakis.

But right now, the Governor and most lawmakers favor repaying the ‘38 Studios’ debt, saying not doing so will hurt the state’s credit and investment ratings.