Rep. Guthrie Calls For More Taxes From State's Wealthiest

The plans strive to bring tax equity to Rhode Island.


Rep. Scott J. Guthrie (D-Dist. 28, Coventry) has proposed four plans to raise more revenues and ease the state's continuing budget deficit crunch.

One plan adds an extra $37.9 million into the state general fund for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Another results in a revenue gain of $66.8 million for the two-year period. The third would hike state revenues by $76.6 million for the two fiscal years, and the fourth brings in an additional $134.5 million over that same period.

"As the state budget deficit continues to loom large, for yet another year, one phrase continues to remain popular from elected officials: shared sacrifice," said Representative Guthrie.

"Well, I see municipalities sacrificing, as well as many of the residents of those communities. I see sacrifices from the poorest and neediest in Rhode Island, the results of continued trimming in the social services funding. What I don't see is sacrifice from the wealthiest members of our society who could most easily afford to give a little more to help their many neighbors and fellow citizens who are suffering."

"Trickle down doesn't work. We've tried it for years and all the benefits continue to trickle up," Guthrie went on to say. "We need a shift back to a more fair tax policy."

Representative Guthrie has introduced four pieces of legislation, all calling for a fourth tax bracket that would apply different percentages of tax increases to different thresholds of income.

(2012-H7305) would impose an additional one percent tax increase for all personal income over $500,000. Doing that would bring in an additional $18.4 million in Fiscal Year 2013 and an extra $19.5 million in 2014, according to a State Fiscal Note provided by the Budget Office of the Department of Administration.

(2012-H7379) would impose an additional one percent tax increase for all personal income over $250,000. That would result in an additional $32.4 million in tax revenue in FY 2013 and an extra $34.3 million the following year.

(2012-H7382) provides for an additional two percent tax increase on personal income over $500,000. The added revenue would be $37.3 million for FY 2013 and $39.4 million for FY 2014.

(2012-H7381) provides for an additional two percent tax increase on personal income over $250,000. Added revenue is projected by the Budget Office at $65.3 for fiscal year 2013 and $69.2 million for the following fiscal year.

"By instituting a fourth tax bracket we could solve many of our immediate budget problems, the ones that include deciding if we should cut more services for the needy or force classroom teachers, first responders and other public servants to take pay cuts and layoffs in order to balance budgets," Guthrie said.

"We constantly lament the poor economy and after lots of hand-wringing, we end up doing the same thing year after year after year; hurting those who are already hurting, cutting services for those who need them, forcing municipalities to bite the bullet harder or dig deeper into residents' pockets with higher property taxes," he said. "What we never seem to do is ask those who have benefited greatly while living in our state to give just a little bit more to help their fellow citizens."

"When the economy does better, everyone, including the rich, does better. These bills will help our economy by bringing in more revenue, which will help mitigate our budget problems which will help make our state financially healthier."

All four bills have been referred to the House Committee on Finance and Representative Guthrie said he has filed the appropriate requests for hearings on all the bills.

"I expect, by putting in these bills, that I will face accusations of engaging in class warfare," he said. "I'm not interested in fighting anyone; I am interested in helping everyone. And I want to believe that, whatever their salaries, those making $250,000 or $500,000 or more still consider themselves first and foremost Rhode Islanders and realize that we are all in this together and need to work through this together."

Representative Guthrie said he applauds the state's efforts the past few years to make Rhode Island more attractive to business, but that the end result of those efforts and initiatives has been tax policy that ensures the super-rich get the benefits of government while the rest of the citizens pay a higher bill.

"I think it's finally time to change that, to bring real tax equity and fairness to Rhode Island," he said.

coventry voter-Jay April 12, 2012 at 02:23 PM
The other political speech they spew is to blame it on the economy. Well if the economy was so bad why have these people supported and handed out raises to tax funded union workers during this down turn in the economy. If any thing EXACTLY the opposite should have been done to protect the taxpayer and lower their cost of living.. . Only the organized will survive in the system. Unfortunately Joe taxpayer's voice was droned out by a fat campaign donation from Council 94
FedUpinCoventry April 12, 2012 at 03:00 PM
When did this tax freeze for disabiled Cov. residents go into effect? This is the first I have heard of it. Does it sunset or is it forever? I do not agree with it either. And I also do not agree with Rep. Guthrie's "shared sacrifice" rhetoric. I am fortunate enough to make a good living. But I have to go travel to Massachusetts everyday for the past 20 years to do so. And I don't even want to tell you how much my husband and I pay in taxes every year. But, it is never enough. They still want more money for less services and guarenteed pay rasies for their union buddies. My husband and I support various local charities and we would rather choose how we spend our money. I do not need Mr Guthrie or the other State legislators making those decisions for me.
coventry voter-Jay April 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Fed Up, In Cov if two people in the household normally the owners are "Disabled" they can petition the town to freeze their taxes. The NEW rule applies the freeze with one person disabled. Cote and the boys changed this rule and some would say to help the newly disabled members of the Coventry Dems, namely Guthrie, the ex party chairman, and a soon to be public works union guy. Guthrie is a "disabled" fire fighter so he gets a tax fee pension for life. So why do the rest of us have to pay the rest of his taxes. He got the pension as compensation from NK. Why do we in Coventry have to pay more for the privilege of him living in Coventry. See my earlier post: How about a Tax Freeze? In Coventry you can have your property taxes frozen if you are elderly making less than a certain amount. I agree with this because it helps keep the home owner in the house or in the empty nest as it were and prolong a new family of 2,3,or 4 from moving in and adding more kids to the school system. You can also have your taxes frozen if there are 2 disabled residents living there. This I also agree with it you add the same income guidelines. .
coventry voter-Jay April 12, 2012 at 04:49 PM
But now enter a new political sub group. It's Coventry's Disabled Democrats. The CDD. They supported and a change to this rule lead by council president Gary Cote, and now if one person in the home is disabled the property taxes are frozen regardless of the household income. So for instance a retired state worker living in Oak Haven (Cote's neighbor) has bypass surgery because he loved to eat fried chicken and doughboys and never exercised, the rest of us get to have our property raised because of his poor life style choices. Sound Fair?
Toxic Avenger May 10, 2014 at 10:09 PM
What's his disability?


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