Rhode Island Budget Nears Passage

Rhode Island State Senators are debating the state's 8-billion dollar budget proposal.

It does include some unpopular tax increases.

Cigarette smokers are fuming. Under the proposed state budget, the tax goes up to three-dollars and fifty-cents, per pack:

Samantha Mello, a Rhode Island Taxpayer and a smoker says, “That's too much for us smokers to pay that tax, that we can't afford.”

There will also be a new 7 percent sales tax on limo rides, taxi cab fares, and even pet grooming will now be taxed.

The new Sakonnet River Bridge will have a toll, but that amount is yet to be determined. The House has already passed the budget, but Republicans in the Senate don't like the spending plan:

State Sen. Dawson Hodgson, (R) Rhode Island says, “Well I wasn't sent up here to support more taxes, fees and tolls. So, it is going to be very difficult to suport this.”

ABC-6 Political Reporter Mark Curtis says, “While the budget does include some new tax increases, some of the more controversial items got cut out. The proposed restaurant tax, is gone. So too is a proposed tax on car washes. Also gone.”

Other taxes are being eliminated, like the one that tacked a 7 percent tax on certain trolley rides and tour busses. But charter bus passengers will still be taxed. All-in-all, Senate leaders believe it's a good budget:

State Sen. Daniel DaPonte, (D) Chairman, Finance Committee says:

“The overall state budget proposals is 8.1 billion dollars; that's an increase of almost 400 million bucks over last year.”