NARRAGANSETT—The town council voted unanimously on Monday evening to request a repeal of the state tax on tour operations. The Rhode Island General Assembly passed the law for the upcoming 2012 fiscal year budget, and applies a sales tax upon local businesses who operate tour vehicles in the state.
“I co-sponsored this request with Susan Cicilline-Buonanno,” said Councilman Christopher Wilkens. “It is a state tax on things like tour boats and trolleys, working to our disadvantage.”
Bus and trolley tours, train tours, and helicopter tours are all subject to taxation. The town feels that the tax is a burden upon local communities who are already struggling to support their economies. In Narragansett, the recently created Economic Development Plan calls for the enhancement of local activities and events which are serviced by tour vehicles for both residents and visitors to use in town. Trolley tours service activities such as weddings at the Towers and Kinney Bungalow, along with historic tours in the summer months.
“We are relying more and more on our tour buses to bring people to places like the Towers and to the beach,” said Wilkens. “We are ramping up for Economic Development, and one way to kill that is to tax it.”
The tax, which went into effect on October 1, could ultimately be passed by tour companies to the consumer, impacting local restaurants and other businesses which rely upon the spent dollars of visitors to Narragansett. If it is too expensive for tourists to use the transportation offered in town, those businesses will suffer.
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