Coming up in Committee: Eleven Sets of Bills Scheduled to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, May 24 – May 26
My impression is that the General Assembly is finally beginning to get a little more focused on addressing the fiscal and governance problems of Rhode Island…
11. H5608: Dedicates 10% of state gambling revenue to the payment of debt service on state bonds. (House Finance, May 24)
10. H5368: Replaces the exemption
9. Two bills affecting armed-services personnel; a state income-tax exemption for military pensions for persons 65 and older (S0100, Senate Finance, May 24) and a ban on foreclosures on the residences of deployed active duty personnel (S0703, Senate Special Legislation and Veterans’ Affairs, May 25).
8. S0619: A bill clarifying 1) that, once a municipal receiver takes over a Rhode Island municipality, any “powers of the city or town council exercisable by resolution or ordinance shall be exercised by order of the receiver” 2) that the former government of the city or town “shall not rescind or take any action contrary to such action by the receiver so long as the receivership continues to exist”, and 3) that in towns where a budget commission, a fiscal overseer, or a receiver has been appointed, elected officials are personally liable for the amounts they overspend. The receiver and any other state appointed officials, of course, are above this last provision of the law — if the receiver says it is necessary, then it is by definition not overspending! (Senate Finance, May 24)
7. H5736/S0614: Local governments must appropriate money to pay debt service on general obligation bonds and notes before any other item can be appropriated. Local officials who do not carry this out, apparently at either the appropriations or the expenditure stage, can be removed from office by the Superior court. (Note to the state Department of Revenue, who is listed as having requested this bill: if this is supposed to be some sort of best-practices technocratic fix, you shouldn’t load up the House sponsorship with a list of crazy left-wingers, which could create an impression that one purpose of this bill is to open the door to local officials being sued, if they refuse to vote for tax-increases). (Senate Finance, May 24; House Finance, May 26)
6. H5245: In-state college tuition for illegal immigrants. (House Finance, May 26)
5. S0189: Freezes the bonus for regional districts in the new state education “funding formula” at a permanent value of 2%. (Senate Finance, May 24)
4. H6095: 4% additional income tax, creating a marginal rate of 10%, on individual incomes over $200,000, and on married-couple incomes over $250,000. (House Finance, May 26)
3. H5840: Eliminates cost-of-living pension increases for any newly hired judges, justices, teachers and state employees. (House Finance, May 24)
2. H6146: Contracts for municipal employees do not expire until a new contract is agreed upon. (House Labor, May 24)
1. H6085: Authorizes a statewide referendum and a local referendum in Lincoln to be held as part of the 2012 general election to approve or reject adding table games to “the facility known as ‘Twin River'”. (House Finance, May 25)
“10. H5368: Replaces the exemption on the first $850,000 of property subject to the estate tax with a tax-credit of $25,200. Does anyone know what purpose is served, by changing from an exemption to a tax-credit?”
I am not completely familiar with the RI estate tax, becasue I don’t intend to let it effect me.
I am assuming a tax increase in this wise. I am asssuming the tax is progressive.
If there is an exemption, the porogressive rate begins on the first dollar over $875,000. If your estate was $1,000,000, that would probably be a small tax.
Now, let us assume it is progressive and the exemption of $875,000 is eliminatedand replaced by a “credit”. Let us also assume that the “credit” is equal to the tax on $875,000. So, you have an estate of $1,000,000, but the progressive rate begins at $1.00. The “credit” is equal to the tax on $875,000, so if you leave an estate of $875,000, or less, it appears neutral. But, remember the tax begins at the first dollar. So, with progressive rates, what is the tax on the remaining $125,000? Probably higher.l
S0100 No foreclosure of deployed military.
This one tracks the federal “Soldiers & Sailors Civil Relief act of 1941” (title has now been updated to include female military). It does offer greater specificity than the federal act.
I notice that it includes a “self destruct” provision for a waiver; I don’t believe the federal act does.
“S0619 … officials are personally liable for the amounts they overspend”
(… can we make that retroactive to school committee members for the last twenty years?)
Parsing the portion of the law that’s being struck out, I think you’ve provided the key point. The current exemption is not on the “first” $850,000, but on any estate of less than $850,000, with estates greater than $850,000 paying a tax on the entire value. By changing to a tax credit, the estate tax would, in effect, only be assessed on the value above the $850,000.
I think this is actually the reasonable change, despite the fact that Donald Lally is one of the sponsors.
” Local officials who do not carry this out, apparently at either the appropriations or the expenditure stage, can be removed from office by the Superior court.”
Really? Skipping lightly over the fact that someone’s presumably good intentions are a good thirty years too late, would such a law even be constitutional? It appears to a.) infringe pretty heavily on home rule and b.) create out of nothing a sort of judicial recall procedure of elected officials.
Stipulating that H5736/S0614 is not exactly a materpiece of legislative clarity, here is the relevant section…
I think you can interpret the combination of the 1st sentence and the last 2 sentences as meaning that a Mayor or city or town council that votes to approve a budget that doesn’t contain a full appropriation for the specified financial instruments is subject to removal by the Superior Court.
The non-bolded part in-between adds that if money to pay off a bond or other financial instrument is appropriated by a local government, but for some reason the payments don’t get made, then someone is in trouble. I’m not bothered by that part, as much as I am about the implications of telling an elected official you must vote for something, or else you can be removed.
“3. H5840: Eliminates cost-of-living pension increases for any newly hired judges, justices, teachers and state employees. ”
What a f*****g joke. This won’t save a dime for 40 YEARS.
The state will be ready for the undertaker long, long before then.
That’s only true if you budget according to “progressive” governing principles, i.e. there are no requirements to save anything now to pay for promised future benefits.