SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors voted Wednesday to oppose Governor Chafee’s proposed budget and tax plan.
“Our chamber’s position is to say no to the sales tax expansion proposal,” Joe Iacoi, Executive Director of the South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce said. “Frankly, the more I learn of it I’m surprised of the sweeping nature of what's being debated.”
The Board stated that it opposes the tax plan for many reasons, including that it believes the estimated millions of dollars paid to the Rhode Island by the tax increase will be taken out of an already weak economy.
“Every dollar paid to the State in taxes, is a dollar less the consumer has to purchase goods and services. Factoring in the multiplier effect each dollar has when spent in the local economy, makes this impact even more profound,” the Board of Directors stated in a press release.
The Board continued to state that the small businesses affected by the new tax will have to incur an additional bookkeeping expense to keep track of the new taxes collected. This new tax revenue will have to be paid on a monthly basis, which is something most small service businesses are not currently equipped to handle.
According to the Chamber, the state has calculated that 21 new employees and a budget of $2.2 million will be needed to monitor and collect the new tax. It stated that past performance has shown that these estimates tend to be grossly understated and that the new proposal will increase the cost of the government.
The Chamber said it rejects any new tax regardless of how small it might be, which it believes will open the door to an increase in future years. The Chamber continued to state that the state has been a victim to past runaway spending, and lavish salary and pension benefits, which cannot be sustained.
“The state budget has increased 59 percent in the last 10 years with only a .4 percent increase in the state’s population. It is time to reign in spending and at the very least propose a budget with a 0 percent increase and no new taxes,” the Board stated.
“We encourage our members to contact their local legislators starting today,” Iacoi said. “We have a lot of momentum. You need to be visible and take a position. I don’t want to see local businesses hurt anymore.”