EAST GREENWICH—Town manager Andrew Nota highlighted some important shifts in local policies that Governor Raimondo’s proposed budget changes would bring about. In all, the proposed state budget would see increases in taxes and fees across most sectors, and would particularly hit those who travel for work or who work in areas generally protected from fees and taxes, such as non-profits and emergency services.
The proposed budget would gut the aid allotted for distressed communities by 50 percent. To make up for the inevitable shortfall to follow, the governor has proposed allowing communities to impose a tax on non-profit organizations for any activities not associated with mission-specific goals. The new rule would mean that local nonprofits could be taxed as much as commercial properties for such activities. Such a tax, however, could not make up the total loss by the proposed cuts.
The budget also proposes the legalization of marijuana for recreational use across the state, with the caveat that all dispensaries be state-owned and operated, thereby subsidizing the marijuana industry into a governmental source of income. The idea is based on New Hampshire’s government-operated liquor store program. In New Hampshire, the tax revenue from alcohol sales helps to offset the lack of a personal income tax. It is unclear how such a model would help or hinder the finances of an individual in a state as highly taxed as Rhode Island.
Also in the crosshairs is the selling of properties valued at over $500K, which would see an increased real estate transfer tax aimed at helping