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Group Claims Eliminating Sales Tax Would Create Thousands of Jobs

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


A conservative think tank is recommending that Rhode Island phase out the state sales tax.

According to a report issued by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, doing so what would create over 21,000 jobs and make the Ocean State a hotbed for economic development.

In addition to creating jobs, the “Zero.Zero” report suggests that reductions in tax rates would pour hundreds of millions of dollars back into the economy, raise revenues for cities and towns and increase population in the state.

The report also suggests certain tax and fee increases in the proposed House budget will only “extend the state's downward economic spiral” and increase what is already the second-highest unemployment rate in the country.

"Does anyone in the political class recognize that our state economy is failing? That our citizens are suffering? To suggest any increase in taxes guarantees that we will continue to limp along the same path that led us into this rut in the first place," said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for Center for Freedom and Prosperity. "It is alarming that the lack of jobs, the loss of population, and our state's dismal economic growth has merited virtually zero response from our public officials. Why are we not having a special session of the General Assembly this fall to deal with jobs?”

Only Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana and Oregon currently do not have a general sales tax, although the exact stipulations vary by state. The plan would phase out the sales tax over a four-year period, which the organization says would increase the state’s GDP by “billions of dollars.”

Stenhouse criticized state leadership for not taking a more proactive approach when it comes to economic development in the state.

“The title of our report –“Zero.Zero” – reflects both the rate we suggest for the sales tax and, regrettably, the level of leadership state officials have shown. Instead of considering ways to reverse course and grow our economy, legislators are obsessed with perpetuating a failed budget,” he said. “We shouldn't just hope for change; we must enact proactive reforms to restore competitiveness to the Ocean State.”

In a release sent by the organization, Stenhouse criticized the $75 million loan guarantee that state granted to Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios and suggested his plan would create thousands of jobs as opposed to the 450 Schilling said he would create.

“Cronyism must be replaced with policies that will attract a broad range of businesses. Only dramatic reform can produce dramatic improvement," he said

Stenhouse said he hopes the report will spur debate in Rhode Island about public policy alternatives that should be considered to restore prosperity.

"For too long, policymakers have considered only two options: raising taxes or doing nothing,” he said. “Both of these have clearly failed our citizens. A third option - reducing the tax burden on Rhode Island residents and businesses - must now be considered. Rigorous debate about eliminating the sales tax must take place in Rhode Island before the next legislative session.”


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What is this? Lower taxes in RI? Who calls for such blasphemy? This is an outrage! How dare anyone or any organization call for such drastic measures. Taxes should be raised, and raised on everything. In fact they should be raised so high that everyone who makes over $100,000 leaves the state and we obtain political euphoria and everyone lives and thinks alike! Yes, Linc Chafee and the Democrats will save us all. Raise all taxes now before it is too late!

Comment #1 by guy smily on 2012 06 05

Ask the border town business' in Maine, Mass, and Vemont about the evils of a sales tax. New Hampshire seems to be doing okay.

Or on your way back from the liquor store in Seekonk, stop in and ask the liquor store owner in Pawtucket.

Comment #2 by george pratt on 2012 06 05

This is just way too simple for our legislators to grasp. An excellent plan that will fall by the wayside because it isn't the norm.

Comment #3 by Susan Smith on 2012 06 05

This may be an unfair comparison, but given how much trouble developed listening to a former major league pitcher about creating a business and jobs here in RI, should we trust that another former major league pitcher has all of the answers to our economic woes? Or am I forgetting how quickly people forget the obvious when a celebrity name flashes on-screen.


Comment #4 by J. Ferreira on 2012 06 05

My apologies, but a correction here - not major league pitcher, but major league outfielder. Sorry for the misinformation.

Comment #5 by J. Ferreira on 2012 06 05

Mike Stenhouse a celebrity? I don't think so.

Comment #6 by george pratt on 2012 06 05

A former Red Sox player and a former PawSox announcer - that's all it takes in this state. And yes, that's pathetic...

Comment #7 by J. Ferreira on 2012 06 05

I checked out the link to his career. His career is quite unremarkable, but he did go to Harvard. That might give him a leg up on Schilling when it comes to business credibility. By trhe way Nh has a 5.2% unemployment rate. Less than half of ours.

Comment #8 by george pratt on 2012 06 05

Whether this would actually work is irrelevant. RI's entire structure is based on continually raising taxes. The governor and general assembly would NEVER allow such craziness to occur.

If they ever did, our property tax or vehicle excise tax would skyrocket, to make up the difference.

Keep voting Democrat HA HA HA

Comment #9 by pearl fanch on 2012 06 05

Also, keep in mind. Our governor ran on a platform that he would raise taxes if elected. HE WON!!!! And......HE DID raise them.

RI politics is sooooooooooooo screwed up in the head, it's embarrassing.

Comment #10 by pearl fanch on 2012 06 05

I'm curious: What steps would people take to straighten out the economy of RI, outside of voting the bums out? As I don't believe any political parties or entities have the right answers, what needs to be done that won't devastate someones life? What government services would you cut? How would you LEGALLY reduce salaries of government workers? How would you entice businesses to relocate here? How would you fund public & higher education and produce college graduates that would contribute to improving the state? Rather than complaining, what would you do and what impact would it have?

Comment #11 by J. Ferreira on 2012 06 05

Our systemic failures destroy lives every day. First we need jobs, then we can worry about filling them with college graduates that can fill the state. Currently most leave because there are no jobs here.

As I stated earlier NH has less than half our unemployment. No sales tax and no state income tax.

Comment #12 by george pratt on 2012 06 05

"As I stated earlier NH has less than half our unemployment. No sales tax and no state income tax."

But, NH has amongst the highest property tax rates in the nation, so there ARE taxes. like it or not.

Comment #13 by J. Ferreira on 2012 06 05

Yes there are taxes. NH has the 7th least tax burden in the country, and we have the 5th worst. Need I go on.

Oh yeah, in case you missed it they have half our unemployment.

Comment #14 by george pratt on 2012 06 05

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