Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | July 10, 2011

The Final 2011 Legislative Highlight Round-Up

This post is the final in our series highlighting our policy efforts for the 2011 Legislative Session of the Rhode Island General Assembly. However, the General Assembly will reconvene in the Fall to consider issues relative to General Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s pension reform plan. Please be sure to stay engaged in the discussion and familiarize yourselves with the key issues of equity, fairness and transparency being studied over the course of the summer. Further information can be found at SecurePathRI.org.

Independent Contractors Definition: Not Enacted
Strongly opposed by the Chamber, the measure would have set up a definition for independent contractors unnecessarily exceeding the federal IRS definition.

Retiree Health Care For Public Employees: Enacted
Supported by the Chamber, the measure will allow cities and towns to move age-eligible municipal retirees onto Medicare, thus generating significant cost savings for taxpayers. Providence, in particular, will save more than $11 million annually.

Pension and Disability Reform: Enacted
Supported by the Chamber, the measure will add more stringent provisions to disability pensions and give cities and towns the tools to enact meaningful pension reform.

Unemployment Insurance Reform: Enacted
Supported by the Chamber in its amended version, the measure will remedy the now depleted unemployment insurance trust fund by aligning benefit levels with Massachusetts and Connecticut while mitigating wholesale new tax increases on Rhode Island employers. The original version of the legislation had been much more punitive to employers.

Gaming Revenue Constitutional Amendment: Enacted
Supported by the Chamber, the measure will allow a public referendum on expanding casino operations to include table games.

Estate Tax Exemptions: Not Enacted
Supported by the Chamber, the measure would have set graduated tax rates for estates that reach and exceed the $850,000 benchmark.

Project Status Repeal: Enacted
Opposed by the Chamber, the measure eliminates certain tax incentives for company expansion.


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