Rhode Island’s privileged class may begin getting more than half off its property taxes.

Once upon a time, the common wisdom was that government work couldn’t compete with the private sector for pay but made up for it in benefits and job security.  Whether that was ever true, I don’t know, but it has long been the case that government workers in Rhode Island get the best of all worlds — pay, benefits, and job security.

Indeed, it is becoming so difficult for the government officials whom the labor unions put in office to come up with new ways to sweeten the deal — within the boundaries of propriety and conscience — that legislators are having to get creative.  Enter Democrat Representative Jason Knight of Barrington with a bill (H5118) that would create a new tax exemption status to cut the property tax bills of municipal employees (including those who work in local schools) in half or more.  I write “or more” because the legislation sets the minimum benefit at $5,000, which could be much more than half.

I should note that, as is often the case, the bill is sloppily written (which ought to be, but is not, surprising given the number of lawyers in the legislature).  That said, it appears to be the intent that the employee must have worked for the municipality in which they pay the tax for at least 10 years.  (They don’t have to live there that whole time; the measure is only the employment.)  This caveat is of little comfort, however, because this is exactly how the envelope is pushed toward the fire.

A minor amendment or judicial ruling could expand the definition of “the municipality” to include cities and towns around the world or expand “aggregate years” combine the employment time of couples who both work for local government.  Future legislation could reduce the number of years, increase the minimum benefit, or even remove the requirement that the municipality opt in by passing an ordinance.

Take particular note that this benefit would exist outside of any contract, so when once the local union achieves the ordinance, it cannot merely be negotiated away.  Note, as well, that it’s a somewhat hidden benefit, inasmuch as money never collected is more subtle than money handed out.

The simple introduction of this bill, with a long list of sponsors including the state Democrat Party chairman, sends a very strong signal that Rhode Island government does not exist to serve its people.  The truth is actually the other way around.


Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Allyn Meyers
Allyn Meyers
1 year ago

Another example of political payback is in one of the most corrupt state houses in the republic. Thanks for letting us know, Justin.

Tom Letourneau
Tom Letourneau
1 year ago

All of whom are Shocked to read, and learn, things such as this exist here in Rogues Island…please stand!

I thought so

And, didn’t a “Union” Math School Teacher, State Rep, just introduce legislation that would allow retired school teachers, collecting their pensions to be able to work as substitute teachers and their income not affecting their penions!

And, then, we have the Worst of the Lot…Unionized

Maybe I best not go there!

Paul Recupero
Paul Recupero
2 months ago

Jefferson said ” We are a Republic if you can keep it .”
So how can any mission statement……
Set forth” Not to do no harm .”

When law abiding citizens have to leave Rhode Island due to excessive property taxation.. or live in their car?
An the rest of the story that puts Rhode Island in a negative light .

Well can We as citizens become
non profits too ?

Can we organize,
A distinction ,a barrier ,a tax exemption .if unions organize
such premise then the citizenry must prevail
,other wise what are we ” Chop liver?

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul Recupero

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