PROVIDENCE – A bill sponsored by Sen. Melissa Murray, a Democrat representing District 24 in Woonsocket and North Smithfield, along with Rep. Karen Alzate of Pawtucket would raise revenue by adding a new tax bracket in Rhode Island with a rate of 8.99 percent on income above $475,000.
The legislation kicked off the Revenue for Rhode Island coalition’s 2021 campaign with the goal of ensuring the top 1 percent of earners are contributing their fair share and could raise an estimated $128.2 million in new tax revenue, according to supporters. The current top rate is 5.99 percent.
“The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen due to decades of policies that have helped the rich get richer,” said Murray. “We can’t keep balancing budgets by cutting vital social service programs that our most vulnerable citizens depend on, especially in the middle of a pandemic. This legislation will not only help us address our short-term budget deficits, but also allow us the flexibility to properly fund critical programs and services on an ongoing basis. This helps put our state on more solid financial footing going forward, and ensures a more equitable tax structure.”
Revenue for Rhode Island coalition members include the RI AFL-CIO, NEARI, RIFTHP, SEIU State Council, SEIU District 1199, Economic Progress Institute, Carpenters Local 330, Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education, Coalition of Labor Union Women RI, Direct Action for Rights and Equality, IFTPE Local 400, Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty, Latino Policy Institute, Planned Parenthood Votes! of RI, Protect Our Healthcare Coalition, Providence Central Labor Council, RI Association for Infant Mental Health, RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, RI Coalition for Children and Families, RI Coalition for the Homeless, RI National Organization for Women, The Right from the Start Coalition, UNITE HERE Local 26, URI American Association of University Professors, Women’s Fund of RI, and the Working Families Party.
RI AFL-CIO President George Nee said of the bill, “In Rhode Island, lower and middle class families have been paying a higher percentage of their income in overall taxes than the wealthiest Rhode Islanders. When you factor in income tax, property tax and sales tax, the poorest Rhode Islanders pay 50 percent more as a percentage of income compared to the wealthiest 1 percent.”
“Meanwhile, the wealthiest Rhode Islanders have benefited from big federal and state tax breaks – from the Bush federal tax cuts to Governor Carcieri’s state income tax cut to the Trump tax cut,” said Nee. “This proposal would put the top 1 percent more in line with the next 79 percent of taxpayers.”
To learn more about the Revenue for Rhode Island campaign, visit www.RevenueForRI.org.