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 on the first $850,000 of property subject to the estate tax from the estate-tax for estates valued at less than $850,000 with a tax-credit of $25,200. Does anyone know what purpose is served, by changing from an exemption to a tax-credit? (A possible answer is discussed in the comments). (House Finance, May 24)
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)

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

“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

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

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.

Monique
Monique(@monique-chartier)
Editor
10 years ago

“S0619 … officials are personally liable for the amounts they overspend”
Holy moses!
(… can we make that retroactive to school committee members for the last twenty years?)

Monique
Monique(@monique-chartier)
Editor
10 years ago

” 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.

Monique
Monique(@monique-chartier)
Editor
10 years ago

Yup, troubling.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

“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.

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