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RI organized labor, lawmakers seek income tax hike on wealthy

March 5, 2012

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.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mister Guy permalink
    March 6, 2012 8:22 am

    So, the goal here is to get RI’s unemployment rate down to around 7%…where it hasn’t been since 2008 or the early to mid-1990s?? What a silly proposal. Raise taxes on the rich & be done with it. Lowering taxes until a date certain in the future is what GWB did at the national level & look where that got us all.

  2. Small Business Owner permalink
    March 6, 2012 9:38 pm

    This will be the straw to break the camel’s back for me. To Southern MA I move my business and my employees… 10%($0) = 0.

    Sorry, I’m not asking my employees or my company to pay anymore to support union employeees

    • Mister Guy permalink
      March 8, 2012 2:09 am

      See ya later then…

  3. Take a step back permalink
    March 6, 2012 9:48 pm

    This is an absurd proposal, which if successful will simply prompt more “wealthy” people to take their skills elsewhere. Those of us subject to the alternative minimum tax already pay one of the highest combinations of federal and state taxes in the entire country, because we lose deductions things like mortgage interest due to the high state tax in Rhode Island. If your objective to further bankrupt the state, keep pushing on ideas like this.

    • Mister Guy permalink
      March 8, 2012 2:19 am

      “Those of us subject to the alternative minimum tax”

      …are mostly in the $150-415,000/yrea income range. In other words, they can well afford to pay a higher tax rate. I support AMT reform (by indexing it to inflation), but that kind of reform ends up costing the federal govt. revenue…to the tune of somewhere around $1 Trillion over the next decade or so.

      I’ve heard these kind of silly statements about the fleeing of the wealthy & their money from other small states. The reality is quite to the contrary though. “Threats” like the above two comments are just idle talk & fear-mongering…nothing more, nothing less.

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