The Scoop - No More Sales Tax? - RI News and Politics at 4 pm
Friday, September 13, 2013
A new state commission is examining what would result from reducing or possibly eliminating the Rhode Island sales tax. The 13-member study panel held its first organizational meeting on Thursday and the commission’s chairman Rep. Jan Malik (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren) gave GoLocal the details on what transpired.
“We had a very productive first meeting yesterday with a great group of commission members who are anxious to get started working on this issue of studying all aspects of the sales tax to make our state more competitive. This is a fact-finding commission that will gather a lot of material and take a lot of testimony that will be presented to the General Assembly early in the 2014 session.
“I anticipate having at least five more public meetings. At our next meeting on September 30, we will look at four other states which have no sales tax – New Hampshire, Delaware, Montana and Oregon – and see how they do it. We will have a meeting to look at various options of how Rhode Island can make up the difference in having a lower sales tax or no sales tax, being well aware that the sales tax generates $900 million in our state budget.
“We also will have a meeting on what benefits Rhode Island can achieve by reducing or eliminating the sales tax, and we will ask business owners to come in and talk about how the sales tax affects them. We look forward to taking public testimony. We are excited to get to work and compile a report with some good suggestions for all the members of the General Assembly to review and discuss.”
The commission’s next meeting is on September 30.
Earlier today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed held media availability to discuss new threats of a federal government shutdown driven by House Republicans’ efforts to repeal of the Affordable Care Act. With the annual federal budget set to expire in just 17 days, Reed told GoLocal that this looming problem can only be fixed through bipartisanship. Here's Reed's strategy to get a deal hammered out.
"Simple. The Republican leadership needs to pull its members back from the brink and explain to them that shutting down the government will not stop health reform, but it will hurt our economy. If Republicans force a prolonged shutdown thousands of federal employees and contractors in Rhode Island could be furloughed, including civilian contractors who have already been hit by the sequester. It could also halt infrastructure projects and block things like SBA loans for small businesses. Social Security checks would still go out, but new benefit registration and others seeking assistance could face severe delays. We’ve got 17 days to get this done, and Democrats are proposing a smaller budget than we had last year so this should be resolvable. Republican leaders should stop trying to pass a budget with only Republican votes and instead work with Democrats on a bipartisan plan to keep the government open and our economy moving forward."
The U.S. reached its statutory debt limit of just under $16.7 trillion on May 19. On August 26, the Treasury informed Congress that if the debt ceiling was not raised in time, the U.S. would be forced to default on its debt by the end of October.
U.S. Congressman David Cicilline joined Serve Rhode Island today to announce a grant of $73,933 through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to help support volunteer activities in Rhode Island.
“Serve Rhode Island is our state’s largest volunteer organization, and I am proud to join them in announcing this new federal grant funding that will support their ongoing efforts,” said Cicilline. “I look forward to continuing to work with Serve Rhode Island and other stakeholders to bring federal funds back home and put them to use for Rhode Island families.”
The grant is provided as part of CNCS’ Volunteer Generation Fund which is designed to focus upon the need to recruit, manage, and retain more volunteers to address pressing social challenges. With these dollars, Serve Rhode Island will enlist 1,800 new volunteers who will perform 9,000 hours of service tracked in the HandsOn Connect database system, provide targeted placements for youth, unemployed workers and seniors in leadership nonprofits, recruit and place 12 high-level professional volunteers and another 25 high-skilled volunteers to assist AmeriCorps subgrantees and partner with 15 larger volunteer dependent nonprofits to create volunteer recruitment and management plans.
Rhode Island was one of 17 states to receive a Volunteer Generation Fund grant. Totaling approximately $4 million in federal funding, these investments help strengthen volunteer recruitment and retention, expand the nation’s volunteer pool, and create a sustainable infrastructure of volunteer connector organizations to increase the impact of volunteers in solving local problems.
Serve Rhode Island is the state’s center for volunteerism and national service and coordinates community service projects for volunteer individuals and groups to improve nonprofit and school facilities and the state’s natural environment.
U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin has raised $333,348 for his 2014 campaign reelection campaign as of June 30, 2013. Interestingly, $74,000 comes from donors in five major industries. Here's the breakdown:
- Building Trade Unions: $23,500
- Misc Defense: $16,000
- Public Sector Unions: $14,500
- Industrial Unions: $10,500
- Defense Electronics: $9,500 ($9,000 PAC, $500 individual)
Of Langevin's fundraising total, the Congressman currently has $235,568 cash on hand.
Source of data: OpenSecrets.org.
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