Issues and Legislation
The Rhode Island General Assembly convened for its 2013 session in early January. Gordon Fox of Providence continues his term as House Speaker; Nicholas Mattiello of Cranston serves as House Majority Leader; Brian Newberry of North Smithfield is House Minority Leader; and, Helio Melo is Chair of the House Committee on Finance. In the Senate, Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport is the Senate President; Dominick Ruggerio of Providence is the Senate Majority Leader; Dennis Algiere of Westerly serves as Senate Minority Leader; and, Daniel DaPonte of East Providence is the Senate Finance Committee Chair.
Naturally, the 2013 session has brought a large number of perennial bills regarding taxes, labor rules, health care mandates, and other provisions, both positive and negative for the manufacturing sector. To date more than 800 pieces of legislation have been filed. A number of bills will continue to be introduced, debated and evaluated each day. The House Finance Committee (under the direction of Chairperson Helio Melo) and the Senate Finance Committee (under the direction of Chairperson Daniel DaPonte) meet every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to discuss and hear testimony regarding the various provisions contained in the Governor’s FY 2014 budget proposal. Late each afternoon the full House and Senate members come together under their respective leaders before adjourning to their various committees to hear testimony of legislation assigned to them.
RIMA’s primary focus during the current legislative session involves the methods to be utilized to close the projected budget deficit project for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1st. We will also focus on the use of funds collected from employers under the Jobs Development Tax to push to have more of these funds used for much needed workforce development.
Governor Chafee’s FY 2014 budget proposal was presented on January 16th. The House and Senate Finance Committees are conducting hearings on the various sections of his proposal. Once we have had a chance to hear testimony and digest the details of this submission, we will provide highlights of the provisions that cause us concerns for our manufacturing businesses.
The current session will also see a great deal of debate on tax issues, specifically the minimum corporate taxes, estate taxes and personal income taxes. Legislative leaders have voiced a desire to defeat any measures that will increase personal income tax rates. We expect there will be a number of bills introduced that will impose a higher tax rate on those resident individuals, especially those deemed to be “wealthy”. We believe that this action will reverse any gains attributed to the 2010 reduction of the personal income tax rates that just went into effect in 2011. Again, we ask that you be prepared to contact the House and Senate leadership, as well as your local legislators regarding this matter.
For a copy of RIMA's 2013 Legislative Outline please click here.