STATEMENT on Proposed 2017 RI Budget
RI Families Once Again Left Out of State Budget
Multiple Special Interest & Corporate Welfare Programs Outweigh Few Relief Provisions
Lawmakers Adopt Center’s Recommendation to increase EITC in lieu of Minimum Wage hike
Providence, RI — With nothing bold to address the massive structural budget deficits, its dismal business climate, or the state’s 48th ranking on the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity‘s Jobs & Opportunity Index, Rhode Island lawmakers are once again advancing a special interest laden agenda that offers little relief or hope for new opportunities for the average Rhode Island family.
“What does the average family have to cheer about in this budget? The few provisions that offer minor relief to some are overwhelmingly outweighed by the massive special interest and corporate welfare spending that will continue drag-down our state economy,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Only when the total relief package is bigger than new spending can we claim that Rhode Island is heading in the right direction.”
While recognizing the reductions in retiree income taxes, the corporate minimum tax, and trucker registration and beach parking fees, the Center notes that these cuts are themselves narrowly targeted and are more than offset by the increases in corporate welfare, new Uber and marijuana taxes, pre-K funding, and new special-interest bond initiatives.
The Center maintains that major broad-based tax reforms are required to jump-start the Ocean State’s stagnant economy and jobs market.
Also according to the Center, the continued funding of the unethical legislative and community grant programs, despite the mirage of reform, can only be seen a perpetuation of a corrupt, status quo insider culture.
As help to low-income workers, the Center praises lawmakers for adoptng the Center’s March 2016 recommendation to hold the minimum wage steady and, instead, increase the Earned-Income-Tax-Credit (EITC), which rewards work without risking job losses.
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