R. Kelly Sheridan in Providence Journal
In face of deficit, business looks to preserve tax changes
Business advocates are starting 2014 in a defensive crouch to save gains made in the past while still hoping to score some wins in this year's General Assembly session, according to a briefing to members of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. For example, one of the Chamber's top tax priorities is to preserve the personal income tax changes made in 2010 that lowered the marginal tax rate to 5.9 percent. R. Kelly Sheridan, the Chamber's lobbyist, explained the challenge of holding onto past gains because of a projected budget deficit of more than $100 million. Some legislators already are calling for tax hikes to close the gap and pay for existing services.
Still, the Chamber lists other priorities to change the equation and improve the business climate. They include eliminating the "cliff" provisions in the estate tax and increasing the exemption to $3 million, opposing any expansion of the sales tax, eliminating or reducing the $500 minimum entity tax for the first three years of a company's existence, and eliminating the franchise tax, which imposes a tax on a corporation's capital stock.
Also, the Chamber advocates reducing the corporate income tax from 9 percent to 7 percent, a proposal from Governor Chafee last year that didn't survive when he and legislators couldn't agree on where the money would come from to pay for it.
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