Block/RI Taxpayers Organization Challenge General Assembly on Economy

Friday, May 10, 2013


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The RI Taxpayers Organization and its president are calling on Rhode Island's General Assembly to show progress on economic issues.

The RI Taxpayers Organization and its President, Ken Block, are calling on the General Assembly to meet its responsibility to show progress in addressing the state’s dismal economic climate and fairness to individual and business owner taxpayers before adjourning next month. “In the state’s current condition, the Legislature has a serious responsibility to stop stalling and act on bills which will help the state’s poor business climate, and reject bills that will hurt individual and business owner taxpayers before adjournment," Block said of the Legislature.

Block, the Moderate Party founder and current President of the RI Taxpayers’ organization, (RIT) is expected to issue a challenge to the Legislature when the organization stages its annual meeting for taxpayers this weekend. The Meeting is being held Saturday, May 11th, at the Radisson Airport Hotel, 2081 Post Road Warwick, 8:30 am-11:30 am. It’s open to RIT members, non-members, the general public and news media.

"Time for a reality check..."

“As we approach the final month of the session, it’s time for a reality check assessment of how—or whether—any true attempt is being made to lessen the burdens on business owner taxpayers and reverse the state’s economic decline," Block said. "The clock is ticking on this session.” Block said that despite numerous economic development conferences held and the issuing of reports and plans, the Legislature still has not defined a clear roadmap or reached any level of consensus to steer a better path for the state’s weak economy.

“It’s unclear at this point if there’s an appetite to address even the more obvious burdens placed on businesses in the state, and that’s a failure of leadership,” he said. Through numerous appearances at legislative Committee hearings over the past session, Block has cited the need to reform laws and bills related to taxes and fees on businesses, especially unemployment insurance rates and policies; temporary disability insurance rates; capital gains tax exemptions; and many other regulations that stifle the local economy. He has also led well attended hearings on bills to repeal the Master Lever vote mechanism, but those bills have been held for further study.

Other speakers

Other speakers will include RIT Board member and business consultant Larry Girouard who will address the impact of the state’s last place rankings in numerous national surveys of business climate factors. “We need to see the words ‘business friendliness’ and ‘Rhode Island’ appearing side by side, but we know they don’t,” Girouard says. “The lack of outside business investment is deeply hurting our homegrown existing businesses. We need and deserve a business climate that will get us out of last place.”

Harry Staley, who serves as RIT Chairman and was the founder of the former RISC, will open the Meeting and give a brief overview of where the state’s taxpayer movement goes from here. For further information, visit


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