RI organized labor, lawmakers seek income tax hike on wealthy
A group of organized labor leaders, community representatives and state lawmakers are pushing for an increase in Rhode Island income taxes for the wealthy as the state battles a budget deficit of more than $100 million.
The group, organized as Rhode Islanders for Tax Equity, is holding a news conference Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in the State House rotunda to unveil legislation that would temporarily hike the income tax rate from 5.99 percent of income to 9.99 percent on individuals who earn $250,000 or more per year.
That rate would drop by one percent for each one percent reduction in the state’s unemployment rate, until the income tax rate declined back to 5.99 percent.
The group is led by Jim Riley, secretary/treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers, a union that represents no public workers but has about 12,000 local members in the grocery and food service industries.
The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Josh Miller, D-Cranston in the Senate and Rep. Maria Cimini, D-Providence in the House. Other supporters include Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and George Nee, president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.
Governor Lincoln Chafee has sought to raise the states meals and beverage tax by 2 percent to help close the deficit. But the governor’s plan has met staunch opposition from the restaurant industry.