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NEW: Center Issues Spotlight on Spending Report; Critics Respond

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

 

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity released Wednesday its "Spotlight on Spending" report, in conjunction with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, pointing to $220 million in "questionable state spending," according to the Center.

The report states that rolling-back the sales tax to 3%, repealing the estate tax, and repealing tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge can be absorbed into the state budget without cutting critical services, and still have $100 million left over to pay for bridge and road repairs, aid to cities and towns, or other reforms.

Read the Report HERE

"Our report shows that major reforms are possible if we just set spending priorities," said Center CEO Mike Stenhouse. "The new House leadership team has an opportunity to send a strong early message that it will be serious about following through on its stated intent to grow jobs and the economy. By trimming pork spending, we can pave the way for much needed tax relief for Ocean State families and businesses. It is allowed."

Center Looks at Spending

In a release sent out by the Center, the list of examples of "questionable spending" include:

$775,000 in handouts to the Volvo Ocean Regatta in Newport;
$310,312 to operate the state's failing Film & Television Office;
$7,500 for tattoo removal training for employees at a beauty salon
$5,000 to teach an employee at a company that makes ornamental business card holders how to use Facebook and Twitter.

The Center also points to areas for potential savings including:

$19.1 million by reducing the state's overtime expenses.
$11.3 million by freezing all operating supplies and expenses to their enacted FY14 amount.
$5.5 million by reducing personnel in the governor's office and General Assembly by 15%.
$828,463 by reducing the lieutenant governor's staff to one assistant.

Critics Respond

"Everyone has different priorities when it comes to the role of government and the state budget. This laundry list of "wasteful spending" includes many public services that a majority of Rhode Island residents and businesses probably think are critically important, including full-day kindergarten, support for non-profits that provide food and shelter to struggling Rhode Islanders, and the Governor's Workforce Board, which is working with businesses to ensure we have a skilled workforce," said Kate Brewster with the Economic Progress Institute.  

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts issued a response to the report, which calls for the elimination of the Council with the following statement:

"Rhode Island spends less than seven one-hundredths of one percent (0.0007) of its General Fund to support the arts; the taxpayers of Rhode Island agree they get more than their money’s worth from this investment/ It is important to respond to this inaccurate report.

FICTION: The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity states “Among the projects the agency has funded using tax dollars in recent years are an Xrated, erotic holiday party and a series of underwear “art” that double as genital mutilation contraptions.”

FACT: RISCA doesn’t fund “holiday parties” (erotic or otherwise), the link in the report takes you to the blog of a Boston artist describing shows she attended during the period of a week in 2008. None of the shows described were funded by RISCA. One of the artists mentioned in the blog posting received a grant from RISCA three years later, in 2011, but not for anything associated with so-called “underwear ‘art’”."

See RISCA's full response HERE.

 

Related Slideshow: RI Communities with the Highest Tax Rates #39 - #1

How do the taxes in your community compare to other cities and towns in Rhode Island?

GoLocalProv has ranked communities from the least to the highest taxed on the basis of their tax rates, using newly released data from the state Division of Municipal Finance. The below slides list the tax rate per $1,000 in value for homes, commercial property, personal property, and motor vehicles for the 2014 fiscal year, which began last July and ends next June.

Along with the rates are examples of what taxes might cost a typical resident in each city or town. For residential taxes, this calculation is based on the current statewide median price for a single family home, which is $240,000. For communities with them, homestead exemptions are factored in using the latest available figures. For motor vehicles, the example used is a 2008 Honda Accord, valued at the maximum retail price of $15,150. The total cost of home and car taxes is then represented as a percentage of the median income for that community, offering a rough measure of how affordable taxes are for those residents as compared with the taxes in another city or town.

Data sources: the Rhode Island Division of Municipal Finance, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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#39 New Shoreham

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $5.21

Commercial: $5.21

Personal Property: $5.21

Motor Vehicle: $9.75

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $1,000.32

For 2008 Honda Accord: $147.71

Total Taxes as % Median Income: $1.29%

Note: Real property is assessed at 80 percent of value. This is reflected in the community's ranking.

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#38 Little Compton

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $5.38

Commercial: $5.38

Personal Property: $10.76

Motor Vehicle: $13.90

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $1,291.20

For 2008 Honda Accord: $210.59

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 1.56%

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#37 Jamestown

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $8.75

Commercial: $8.75

Personal Property: $8.75

Motor Vehicle: $14.42

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $2,100.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $218.46

Total Taxes as % Median Income: $2.84%

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#36 Charlestown

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $9.46

Commercial: $9.46

Personal Property: $9.46

Motor Vehicle: $13.08

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $2,270.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $198.16

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 3.56%

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#35 Narragansett

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $9.80

Commercial: $14.68

Personal Property: $14.68

Motor Vehicle: $16.46

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $2,352.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $249.37

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 4.06%

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#34 Bristol

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $12.80

Commercial: $12.80

Personal Property: $12.80

Motor Vehicle: $17.35

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,072.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $262.85

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.18%

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#33 Portsmouth

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $14.53

Commercial: $14.53

Personal Property: $14.53

Motor Vehicle: $22.50

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,487.20

For 2008 Honda Accord: $238.61

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 4.87%

Note: Motor vehicles are assessed at 70 percent of value. This is reflected in the community's ranking.

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#32 Westerly

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $10.53

Commercial: $10.53

Personal Property: $10.53

Motor Vehicle: $29.67

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $2,527.20

For 2008 Honda Accord: $449.50

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 4.93%

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#31 South Kingstown

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $15.47

Commercial: $15.47

Personal Property: $15.47

Motor Vehicle: $18.71

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,712.80

For 2008 Honda Accord: $283.46

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.39%

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#30 Newport

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $11.71

Commercial: $16.23

Personal Property: $16.23

Motor Vehicle: $23.45

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $2,810.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $355.27

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.45%

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#29 Middletown

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $15.71

Commercial: $20.87

Personal Property: $15.71

Motor Vehicle: $16.05

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,770.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $243.16

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.58%

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#28 Exeter

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $14.72

Commercial: $14.72

Personal Property: $14.72

Motor Vehicle: $32.59

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,532.80

For 2008 Honda Accord: $493.74

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 3.93%

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#27 Tiverton

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $19.37

Commercial: $19.37

Personal Property: $19.37

Motor Vehicle: $19.14

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,648.80

For 2008 Honda Accord: $289.97

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 7.75%

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#26 Richmond

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $19.76

Commercial: $19.76

Personal Property: $19.76

Motor Vehicle: $22.64

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,742.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $274.40

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 6.33%

Note: Motor vehicles are assessed at 80 percent of value. This is reflected in the community's ranking.

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#25 North Kingstown

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $18.80

Commercial: $18.80

Personal Property: $18.80

Motor Vehicle: $22.04

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,512.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $333.91

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 6.18%

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#24 Coventry

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $18.66

Commercial: $22.49

Personal Property: $18.66

Motor Vehicle: $18.75

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,478.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $284.06

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 7.11%

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#23 Cumberland

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $15.78

Commercial: $15.78

Personal Property: $28.86

Motor Vehicle: $19.87

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,787.20

For 2008 Honda Accord: $301.03

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.62%

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#22 Hopkinton

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $19.77

Commercial: $19.77

Personal Property: $19.77

Motor Vehicle: $21.18

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,744.80

For 2008 Honda Accord: $320.88

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 7.80%

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#21 Warren

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $18.67

Commercial: $18.67

Personal Property: $18.67

Motor Vehicle: $26.00

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,480.80

For 2008 Honda Accord: $393.90

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 9.15%

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#20 East Greenwich

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $22.90

Commercial: $22.90

Personal Property: $22.90

Motor Vehicle: $22.88

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $5,496.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $346.63

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 6.05%

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#19 Burrillville

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $18.58

Commercial: $18.58

Personal Property: $18.58

Motor Vehicle: $40.00

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,459.20

For 2008 Honda Accord: $606.00

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 7.35%

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#18 Barrington

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $18.20

Commercial: $18.20

Personal Property: $18.20

Motor Vehicle: $42.00

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,368.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $636.30

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.07%

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#17 West Greenwich

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $22.55

Commercial: $22.55

Personal Property: $33.85

Motor Vehicle: $19.02

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,600.20

For 2008 Honda Accord: $288.15

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.81%

Note: Does not include rate for vacant land which is $16.07. Has homestead exemption.

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#16 Foster

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $20.40

Commercial: $20.40

Personal Property: $28.03

Motor Vehicle: $36.95

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,896.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $559.79

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 7.00%

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#15 Scituate

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $33.37

Commercial: $43.20

Personal Property: $39.75

Motor Vehicle: $30.20

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,484.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $434.65

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 6.01%

Note: Real property is assessed at only 50 percent of value and motor vehicles are assessed at 95 percent of value. This is reflected in the community's ranking.

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#14 Glocester

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $21.24

Commercial: $24.14

Personal Property: $42.29

Motor Vehicle: $24.37

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $5,097.60

For 2008 Honda Accord: $369.21

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 7.10%

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#13 North Smithfield

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $15.86

Commercial: $17.57

Personal Property: $42.75

Motor Vehicle: $37.62

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,806.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $569.94

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.54%

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#12 Lincoln

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $23.49

Commercial: $26.85

Personal Property: $36.89

Motor Vehicle: $30.66

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $3,664.44

For 2008 Honda Accord: $464.50

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 5.57%

Note: Has homestead exemption.

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#11 Warwick

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $19.79

Commercial: $29.68

Personal Property: $39.58

Motor Vehicle: $34.60

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,749.60

For 2008 Honda Accord: $524.19

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 8.79%

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#10 West Warwick

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential Rates:

  • For apartments with 6+ units: $35.26
  • For two to five family buildings: $35.26
  • For single family homes: $24.67

 

Commercial: $29.98

Personal Property: $39.00

Motor Vehicle: $28.47

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $5,920.80

For 2008 Honda Accord: $431.32

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 12.70%

Note: For ranking purposes, the average of  the three residential rates was used.

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#9 Cranston

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $22.84

Commercial: $34.26

Personal Property: $34.26

Motor Vehicle: $42.44

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $5,481.60

For 2008 Honda Accord: $642.97

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 10.48%

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#8 Smithfield

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $17.52

Commercial: $17.52

Personal Property: $61.06

Motor Vehicle: $39.00

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,204.80

For 2008 Honda Accord: $590.85

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 6.54%

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#7 East Providence

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $22.78

Commercial: $25.21

Personal Property: $56.25

Motor Vehicle: $37.10

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,647.12

For 2008 Honda Accord: $562.07

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 10.54%

Note:  Rates are for FY 2013. Has homestead exemption.

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#6 Johnston

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $28.75

Commercial: $28.75

Personal Property: $59.22

Motor Vehicle: $41.46

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $5,520.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $628.12

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 11.20%

Note: Has homestead exemption.

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#5 Pawtucket

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $23.06

Commercial: $30.88

Personal Property: $52.09

Motor Vehicle: $53.30

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $5,534.40

For 2008 Honda Accord: $807.50

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 16.00%

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#4 North Providence

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $24.29

Commercial: $31.03

Personal Property: $69.41

Motor Vehicle: $41.95

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,663.68

For 2008 Honda Accord: $635.54

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 10.55%

Note: Has homestead exemption.

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#3 Woonsocket

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $34.56

Commercial: $39.81

Personal Property: $46.58

Motor Vehicle: $46.58

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,976.64

For 2008 Honda Accord: $705.69

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 14.45%

Note: Has homestead exemption.

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#2 Providence

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential Rates:

  • For owner-occupied residential property: $19.25
  • For non-owner-occupied residential property: $33.75

 

Commercial: $36.75

Personal Property: $55.80

Motor Vehicle: $60.00

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,620.00

For 2008 Honda Accord: $909.00

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 14.21%

Note: For ranking purposes, the average of the two residential rates was used. 

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#1 Central Falls

FY 2014 Tax Rates Per $1,000 in Value

Residential: $25.72

Commercial: $37.06

Personal Property: $73.11

Motor Vehicle: $48.65

Tax Cost for Residents

For a single family home valued at $240,000: $4,728.36

For 2008 Honda Accord: $737.05

Total Taxes as % Median Income: 14.43%

Note: Has homestead exemption.

 
 

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Comments:

It is ironic that an organization that wants to be thought of as a "think tank" can prepare a report that is so thoughtless. Making a blanket statement that $775,000 in hand outs for the Volvo regatta in Newport is "questionable" without any diligence or research is just irresponsible. What Stenhouse should know is that a similar event in Newport in 2012, under the leadership of largely the same group of individuals accomplished the following:

•$38.2 million for Rhode Island businesses
•345 jobs with an income of $12 million
•$2.5 million in general state tax revenue

Likewise, the piddly $1,000 donation to Community Boating (reported in the ProJo) that Stenhouse is unhappy ignores the number of people that Community Boating reaches every summer - from communities not traditionally associated with sailing.

If these two examples are any indication of the detail paid to this report by its authors, contributors would be better off flushing their donations in the toilet.

Comment #1 by David Allen on 2014 04 03




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