Add Rep. Scott Guthrie, D – Coventry, to the list of legislators hoping to find additional revenue for the state through an increase in income taxes on Rhode Island’s richest residents.
“By instituting a fourth tax bracket we could solve many of our immediate budget problems, the ones that include deciding if we should cut more services for the needy or force classroom teachers, first responders and other public servants to take pay cuts and layoffs in order to balance budgets,” he said in a pres release issued today.
He’s got four proposals submitted, and while none of them would raise as much revenue as the so-called Cimini-Miller bill, one of them may be more politically practical given that leadership has vowed to fight against any increased taxes on the rich.
From his release:
2012-H 7305 would impose an additional one percent tax increase for all personal income over $500,000. Doing that would bring in an additional $18.4 million in Fiscal Year 2013 and an extra $19.5 million in 2014, according to a State Fiscal Note provided by the Budget Office of the Department of Administration.
2012-H 7379 would impose an additional one percent tax increase for all personal income over $250,000. That would result in an additional $32.4 million in tax revenue in FY 2013 and an extra $34.3 million the following year.
2112-H 7382 provides for an additional two percent tax increase on personal income over $500,000. The added revenue would be $37.3 million for FY 2013 and $39.4 million for FY 2014.
Finally, 2012-H 7381 provides for an additional two percent tax increase on personal income over $250,000. Added revenue is projected by the Budget Office at $65.3 for fiscal year 2013 and $69.2 million for the following fiscal year.
Guthrie added, “We need a shift back to a more fair tax policy. Trickle down doesn’t work. We’ve tried it for years and all the benefits continue to trickle up. As the state budget deficit continues to loom large, for yet another year, one phrase continues to remain popular from elected officials – shared sacrifice. Well, I see municipalities sacrificing, as well as many of the residents of those communities. I see sacrifices from the poorest and neediest in Rhode Island, the results of continued trimming in the social services funding. What I don’t see is sacrifice from the wealthiest members of our society who could most easily afford to give a little more to help their many neighbors and fellow citizens who are suffering.”
Last week, Speaker Gordon Fox told me he doesn’t see any of the tax equity bills going anywhere during this session, noting that this will be the first year in which the new tax rates, which were pushed by former Gov. Don Carcieri, will be factored into the budget.