Warwick, RI — Sen. William A. Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick) has submitted three bills that will tax cars on average trade-in price, reschedule property tax revaluation from every three years to every five, and cut minimum corporate tax nearly in half.
The first bill (2016-S 2044) would amend car tax statutes so that the assessment of used motor vehicles would be based on the average trade-in price, rather than the retail price, according to a release from the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.
When the state eliminated the $6,000 statewide auto excise tax exemption, allowing cities and towns to lower the exemption to as little as $500, owners of vehicles once untaxed began receiving tax bills, while others were being taxed on a vehicle that was suddenly assessed as much as $5,500 more than in the previous year.
“Just because auto owners have gotten used to a higher bill during the past few years does not make things right,” Walaska said. “With the elimination of the excise tax exemption at the state level, some communities saw an open door to grabbing more money from their residents. Instead, they should have been looking for ways to make the hike as painless as possible.”
A second bill (2016-S 2053) would change municipal property tax revaluation from every three years to every five years.
“As communities and the state continue to face difficult budget years, our goal should be to find ways to help save money,” said Senator Walaska. “Readjusting the municipal revaluation process is a very significant way to do that.”
Under current law, every Rhode Island community must conduct a full property revaluation every nine years. Three years after that is done, and then another three years after that, communities must conduct a statistical revaluation (update). Finally, on the ninth year after the initial comprehensive revaluation, another full revaluation must be done.
The third bill (2016-S 2039) would reduce the minimum corporate tax from four hundred fifty dollars $450 to $250.
“Last year we dropped the minimum corporate tax by $50,” said Senator Walaska, “but it just wasn’t enough. We talk about making things easier for small business in Rhode Island. We need to drop it to $250.”
“That is four revaluations in the space of nine years, and even with the state reimbursing communities for part of the cost of the interim statistical reviews, that is a lot of money being spent by local communities and the state,” said Senator Walaska. “A couple of decades ago, when things were booming and home values were soaring, it benefitted communities to do revaluations more often so the community could collect more taxes on the increased values of properties. Things are different today, and I believe property values will not change a great deal if the revaluation is conducted every five years instead of every three years.”
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