Of these options for tax policy in Rhode Island, which should take the highest priority?

TO TAX OR NOT? Tax policy is a hot-button political issue, and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council's most recent report on tax collections and other revenue sources for state and local government begs the questions: What would you change? / PBN FILE PHOTO/STEPHANIE ALVAREZ EWENS
TO TAX OR NOT? Tax policy is a hot-button political issue, and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council's most recent report on tax collections and other revenue sources for state and local government begs the questions: What would you change? / PBN FILE PHOTO/STEPHANIE ALVAREZ EWENS

The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council has come out with its 2018 analysis of Rhode Island’s state and local government tax collections and how they compare with the rest of the nation. And as has been the case for many years, the Ocean State has among the highest loads of tax collections of any state in the union, ranking No. 7 highest in terms of state and local taxes collected per $1,000 of personal income and No. 12 highest per capita, based on fiscal 2016 numbers, the most recent available. But just how Rhode Island collects its revenue is not a simple thing.

For instance, Rhode Island ranks No. 4 for most property taxes collected per $1,000 of personal income and No. 6 for most collected per capita. But the Ocean State ranks No. 27 for individual income taxes collected per $1,000 of personal income and No. 19 per capita. General sales taxes collected per $1,000 of personal income ranked No. 38 in the nation, while No. 36 per capita. Other taxes (including corporate taxes) ranked No. 26 in the United States on a per $1,000 of personal income basis and No. 23 on a per capita basis.

While tax revenue totals roughly half of all the revenue that state and local governments collect in any given year, it is the most visible and in many ways the easiest target for increases or decreases. For instance, House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello’s efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate the car tax are too recent to show up on RIPEC’s charts, so it will be interesting to see what effect that initiative will have on the tax load in the state.

Still, if you had a choice, how would you like to see Rhode Island tax policy change in the coming year, if at all?

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Of these options for tax policy in Rhode Island, which should take the highest priority?

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