Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | March 24, 2011

Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Response to Governor Lincoln Chafee’s Proposed Budget

The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce today outlined its position on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012.

While the spending blueprint includes some laudable proposals which the Chamber believes would improve the state’s business climate, including reduction of the corporate income tax rate and reform of the minimum franchise tax, the Chamber does not support the methods indentified in the budget for drawing new sources of revenue.

Specifically, the Chamber is opposed to sweeping expansion of the sales tax base to include dozens of new goods and services. We believe that the proposed $165 million tax increase would only depress spending activity in what is already a sluggish economic recovery for the state. It would also apply onerous regulatory burdens on the state’s small business community.

In addition to the sheer magnitude of revenue enhancements, the Chamber believes that the two-tiered structure is overly complex and could potentially increase the cost of doing business in our state for local companies. We firmly believe that simplicity and predictability are keys to successful economic development.

Further, with the ranks of the unemployed still numbering around 65,000, the Chamber does not feel that now is right time to eliminate the job development tax and at the same time introduce combined reporting. Large multi-state employers are critical players in our economy and as these large employers shrink, the impact on Rhode Island’s economy will no doubt be profound.

And finally, the Chamber is concerned that the proposal, in its current form, does not address the underlying root causes that are responsible for the chronic structural deficits the state continues to face, specifically spending.

The Chamber reached this position after much consideration by its Board of Directors and outreach to our diverse membership base.
Collectively, the business community and the state’s policy leaders have made great strides on the comprehensive tax reform in the last few years and to backslide now would no doubt negatively impact the long term health of our economy.

The Chamber encourages the Governor and General Assembly to work together in their effort in finding meaningful and permanent solutions to closing the budget deficits and on finding new and innovative ways to grow the Rhode Island economy. It is imperative that Rhode Island continues to create a strong foundation from which to build on, one that will create new jobs, new investment and new levels of prosperity for all Rhode Islanders.


  1. […] Assembly leaders’ public responses have been lukewarm. The Providence Chamber praised “some laudable proposals” but panned the tax increases. The Projo’s opinion […]

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