Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Article 2 – Relating to State Funds
Under current law, the Board of Education has established a restricted receipt account for the Westerly Jobs Skill Center. This facility seeks to provide job training skills to adults in order to assist them in finding employment. Article 2 expands the program by allowing additional centers to be created “throughout the state.” The Governor has stated that she plans to open a facility in Northern Rhode Island. The law gives the Board the ability to collect lease payments from companies that rent space as well as to collect fees from room and services rentals to support the program.
Article 2 also addresses the Atomic Energy Commission. Starting July 1, 2018, all of the fees collected by the AEC will be placed in a restricted receipt account (today the fees go to general revenue) to support the “technical operation” of the agency. At the end of the fiscal year, any monies left in the restricted receipt account over $200,000 will be turned over to the general revenue fund. The AEC is responsible for overseeing the use of nuclear materials in the state, including nuclear research materials, and fees are charged for such use.
Lastly, Article 2 creates a Government Performance Improvement Fund to be paid for through general revenue appropriations that would assist the state in entering “Pay for Success Contracts” with vendors. The program envisions the selection of an independent evaluator selected by the state whose role would include assessing and reporting on the achievement of performance targets as established under a contract. If the vendor reaches a target, then payment is made.
Article 4 – Relating to Taxes and Revenue
This Article contains a number of proposed changes to the state’s operations:
1. State Lottery – Article 4 gives the Director of the Lottery Commission the sole authority to implement lottery-related initiatives, including pilot programs, with the goal of increasing revenue. Initiatives require periodic evaluations. The language also states that no program can be undertaken if it would constitute an “expansion of gambling requiring voter approval.” For those businesses involved in the retail sale of lottery games, it is unclear whether this provision would allow for on-line purchases of games. On-line purchase programs have led to underage gambling and off-shore sales in a few other states, as well as a drop in walk-in traffic for retail business establishments.
2. Sports Wagering – Article 4 allows for sports betting in the Lincoln and Tiverton Gaming facilities. While included in the Governor’s budget, this initiative could only take place if the US Supreme Court rules in favor of such activities. A decision is expected to be rendered soon. Because the wagering is confined to actual building facilities, the problems associated with underage betting and off-shore betting are alleviated. Still unknown is the amount that the state would garner from the expansion, i.e. what administrative fees would or should be paid to the hosting facilities? Is this a shared proposition between the state and the facilities? What liabilities, if any, do each of the partners assume? There are questions to be answered as the analysis continues.
3. Collections Unit – The budget proposal creates a collections unit within the Department of Revenue (DOR). A pilot program would be established to collect debt owed to state agencies. Debts included are: (a) those that are the subject of a written settlement agreement and the delinquent person failed to make payments, (b) those that are the subject of a final administrative order or decision with no timely appeal from the debtor; and (c) those that are subject to a court order with no timely appeal. An Agency would notify the debtor that he/she has 30 days to pay before the debt is sent to DOR. Once the debt is sent to DOR, the debt will accrue interest between 18% and 21% per annum. The Debtor can pay DOR in full within 30 days of notice from DOR (including interest owed). If the debt is not paid within that 30 day period, the debt will also include a fee of 12% of the outstanding debt plus and costs associated with the collection of the debt.
4. Tax on Software – The budget proposal expands the sales tax to “vendor-hosted prewritten computer software which is defined as “prewritten computer software that is accessed through the Internet and/or a vendor-hosted server regardless of whether the access is permanent or temporary and regardless of whether any downloading occurs.” The Chamber is still researching the impact of this proposal.
5. Tax on Investigation Guard, and Armored Car Services – Article 4 expands the sales tax to the security services and includes all those with the SIC (56161). It is unclear why these services were chosen or what the revenue impact might be on an annual basis.
6. Tobacco Tax – The budget proposal expands the sales tax to include electronic cigarettes including vaporizers and liquid solutions. This section also includes a $.25 per pack increase on cigarettes. Rhode Island currently taxes a pack of cigarettes at $4.25 per pack – this is due to the Governor and legislator increasing the tax by $.50 last year. Should the quarter increase be successful, RI would boast one the highest taxes in the country. It is also important to note that last year the Division of Taxation agreed that each time the tax goes up, the black market sales of cigarettes increase. For convenience store owners, this tax is extremely difficult as tobacco accounts for a large portion of sales inside the store. The Article calls for an August 1, 2018 effect date for the increase.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 7269, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS -- CENTRAL SERVICE TECHNICIANS (Provides for the licensing and regulation of central service technicians.)
House Bill No. 7278, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - SALES AND USE TAXES - LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Repeals the sales tax on pet care services.)
House Bill No. 7285, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM (Establishes a universal, comprehensive, affordable single-payer health care insurance program.)
House Bill No. 7299, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY - PUBLIC HEALTH AND WORKPLACE SAFETY ACT (Provided that any law or regulations which prohibits or protects a person from exposure to second-hand smoke would include second-hand marijuana smoke or vapor.)
House Bill No. 7307, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY (Encourages commercial property owners to install vehicle barriers at their retail establishment locations, and also permit insurers to consider the installation of such barriers to provide a discount on the owner's insurance policy.)
House Bill No. 7317, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES--LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Eliminates the assessment of the sales and use tax on taxicab services.)
House Bill No. 7322, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - RETAIL LICENSES (Provides that holders of a Class P alcoholic beverage license may purchase alcohol at retail or wholesale.)
House Bill No. 7325, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PAYMENT OF WAGES (Creates a legal process to aid employees in collecting their unpaid wages from their employer.)
Senate Bill No. 2116, AN ACT RELATING TO WATERS AND NAVIGATION -- THE OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS DRILLING AND EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES CONTROL ACT (Regulates activities of offshore drilling for oil and gas in federal waters to minimize adverse effects resulting therefrom within the state's territorial waters and coastline.)
Senate Bill No. 2145, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- ELECTRONIC RECORDING (Authorizes a city or town clerk/recorder of deeds, at the clerk's/recorder's option, to accept electronic documents for recording real property and land records and to index and store those documents.)
Pawsox Bill Moves forward
Last week the full Senate voted to pass S.2001 – the Pawsox financing legislation. The vote was 26-9 which just met the required 2/3 vote for financial pieces of legislation. Thursday afternoon the House Democratic Caucus met, giving the Speaker the opportunity to gauge where his party was on the issue. Following the caucus, the Speaker stated that a vote on the bill will be forthcoming after the bill is vetted through the committee process. He stated that a number of members are concerned over the level of state monies committed to the project and that the S.2001 would likely be amended to place more financial responsibility on the owners of the Pawsox.
Governor’s Budget Released
As you may have heard, Governor Raimondo released her 400 page FY2019 budget. The $9.37 billion plan includes new revenues, cuts, transfers of restricted receipts, tax and fee increases, new programs, program eliminations and various line items in between. The Governor, called it a “difficult” budget with “difficult decisions to make.”
Approximately 41.6% of the state expenditures are for Health and Human Service programs ($3.898 billion). Approximately 28.1% of the budget is dedicated to Education ($2.64 billion). The remainder of the budget goes to the administration of government, economic development programs and environmental endeavors.
The actual bill can be viewed at: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText18/HouseText18/H7200.pdf
The new big ticket items in the Governor’s budget include:
On the revenue side, the Governor’s budget, on an initial glance appears to use $89.4 million in new revenues and restricted receipt account scoops to balance the budget. About $22.6 million comes from new general revenue increases; $9.6 million from restricted receipt accounts and $57.2 million from “other funds.”
The following items account for new use of monies:
The Governor also proposed the elimination or reduction of some licensing fees:
Like last year, Under the Dome will feature a more detailed analysis of the 18 budget articles in weeks to come. As House Finance Chairman Marvin Abney said, “our work begins.”
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 7169, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PARENTAL AND FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE (Grants unpaid pregnancy leave to part-time workers, would clarify their access to unpaid sick leave during their pregnancy, and provides additional protections for pregnant workers who work in the medical field.)
House Bill No. 7199, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - MINIMUM WAGES (Raises the minimum wage effective January 1, 2019, from ten dollars and fifty cents ($10.50) per hour to eleven dollars ($11.00) per hour.)
House Bill No. 7220, AN ACT RELATING TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY - JOINT COMMITTEE OF THE REPEALER (Creates the joint committee of the repealer in the general assembly.)
House Bill No. 7242, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (Prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee's wage and salary history before an offer of employment with compensation has been negotiated.)
House Bill No. 7251, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES - COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSE (Permits the use of fax or email transmission of the medical certificate required for issuance of a CDL by the division of motor vehicles.)
Senate Bill No. 2045, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- TWIN RIVER AND THE TIVERTON GAMING FACILITY (Authorizes state-operated sports wagering at Twin River/Tiverton facilities effective when authorized by federal law/court decision regulated by lottery division with no wagering on RI college teams.)
Senate Bill No. 2058, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION (Establishes a surtax on the business corporation tax for publicly traded corporations subject to SEC disclosure and reporting requirements, if corporation's ratio of compensation for its CEO to median worker is equal to or greater than 100 to 1.)
Senate Bill No. 2075, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - PERSONAL INCOME TAX (Provides for the imposition of a two (2%) tax increase on personal income over two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000).)
Senate Resolution No. 2082, SENATE RESOLUTION RESPECTFULLY URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING AN IMPROVED “MEDICARE FOR ALL” SINGLE PAYER PROGRAM THAT WOULD PROVIDE UNIVERSAL, COMPREHENSIVE AND AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE
Senate Bill No. 2091, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- TAX SALES (Expedites the foreclosure procedure on vacant property.)
Senate Bill No. 2099, AN ACT RELATING TO CRIMINAL OFFENSES -- LAW PRACTICE (Requires duly admitted members of the bar of this state to acquire and maintain malpractice insurance in the minimum amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000).)
Senate Bill No. 2102, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT (Requires a landlord to produce proof of at least $100,000 general liability policy for persons injured on premises due to landlord's negligence before proceeding with eviction action.)
Senate Bill No. 2103, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - OVERTIME WAGES (Exempts certain executive, administrative, and professional employees from overtime pay if their weekly wages exceed one thousand thirty-six dollars ($1,036), an increase from the current two hundred dollars ($200).)
Last week the Senate Committee passed two bills to provide the avenue for the Pawsox ball park to become a reality. The full senate is scheduled to vote on the proposals January 16th.
S.2001, A Resolution Authorizing the State to Enter into Financing Lease and payment Agreements in Connection with the Construction of a Ballpark in the City of Pawtucket, is a resolution authorizing the State to enter into a financing lease with the state as a lessee and the Pawsox as a sublessee for financing the park. The financing would be accomplished through the sale of Series A Bonds which could be done on a tax exempt basis or a taxable basis or a combination thereof. The maximum amount of bonds to be issued would be $41 million with a maximum debt service payment of $2.8 million over a 30 year period. The Pawsox would make payments to the State with money made from team rentals, the amount of annual naming rights payments received in excess of $250,000, and any and all other sources “in order to cover the Team's absolute and unconditional obligation on the Series A Bonds.”
The Resolution also includes the authorization for the state to issue Series B Bonds (taxable or tax exempt) up to $26 million with a total debt service payment of $1.8 million. The debt assumed would be paid from state revenues “which are expected to include taxes generated by Ballpark users, visitors, the PawSox, and ancillary development.”
Lastly, the resolution calls for the issuance of Series C Bonds (taxable or tax exempt) in the amount of $18 million with a total debt service payment of $1.4 million over 30 years. The responsibility for repayment of these Bonds would fall to the City of Pawtucket. The Senate expects the City to pay for its obligations through “incremental real estate property tax, hotel tax, tangible asset tax, food and beverage tax revenues and assessments generated in and around the Downtown Redevelopment Project, and from such other City revenues, including, but not limited to, premium ticket surcharge, $250,000 of annual naming right payments each year for a period of thirty (30) years, and State Aid”. The types of “State Aid” the City could use for repayment of the bonds is limited to certain categories of state aid.
Your Chamber has reviewed the proposal along with the potential revenue loss that would come with the moving of the team to Massachusetts. The Chamber supports the passage of S.2001.
S.2022, An Act Relating to Towns and Cities – Redevelopment Agencies and Projects is the other bill that passed the Senate Finance Committee and is headed to the Senate for a vote on the 16th. This legislation simply permits redevelopment agencies to finance the construction of projects for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, institutional, public, or other purposes contemplated by a redevelopment plan. It does not have the broad public taking language that the previous version contained. The Chamber supports the passage of S.2022.
House Oversight Committee Looks at ORR
On February 1st at approximately 4:30pm, The House Oversight Committee will meet in Room 101 of the State House to ask questions concerning the effectiveness of the Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR). ORR was created to review current and proposed regulations and to eliminate those regulations that are overly burdensome or are considered to have limited value. While ORR has streamlined some regulatory processes perhaps its greatest value has been in its efforts to require agencies to evaluate new proposed regulations from an economic impact point of view before those agencies can promulgate the new regulation. The chamber will be watching this issues as it unfolds.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 7080, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- ELECTRONIC RECORDING (Authorizes a city or town clerk/recorder of deeds, at the clerk's/recorder's option, to accept electronic documents for recording real property and land records and to index and store those documents.)
House Bill No. 7091, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES (Exempts the mandatory paintcare fee added to the purchase price of paint sold in the state from sales tax.)
House Bill No. 7092, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES -- MANUFACTURING AND WHOLESALE LICENSES (Reduces the alcoholic beverage manufacturing and wholesale licensing fee from three thousand dollars ($3,000) to five hundred dollars ($500).)
House Bill No. 7111, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- RHODE ISLAND RIGHT-TO-KNOW DATA TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT (Protects individuals from internet disclosure of personally identifiable information by commercial websites/online service operators and creates right of action for violations.)
House Bill No. 7115, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- UNLAWFUL EMPLOYER PRACTICES AND SALARY HISTORY INFORMATION (Prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information, including compensation and benefits, concerning an applicant for employment.)
House Bill No. 7116, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (Prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee wage and salary history before an offer of employment with compensation has been extended.)
House Bill No. 7117, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PAYMENT OF WAGES (Defines and recognizes the existence and potential liability of lead entities concerning the payment of wages.)
House Bill No. 7121, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RHODE ISLAND HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE (Authorizes RI Health Exchange to seek waiver under Affordable Care Act to allow small business owners/sole proprietors to purchase health plans offered by RI Health Exchange.)
Senate Bill No. 2019, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RHODE ISLAND HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE (Authorizes RI Health Exchange to seek waiver under Affordable Care Act to allow small business owners/sole proprietors to purchase health plans offered by RI Health Exchange.)
Senate Bill No. 2028, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- UNFAIR SALES PRACTICES (Makes it an unfair sales practice to sell, offer for sale, lease or distribute a product creating Internet access without digital blocking capabilities for obscene material.)
The Town of Warren Department of Community Development & Planning in partnership with RI C-PACE will be hosting an informational meeting on Rhode Island’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program. Building owners throughout Rhode Island are taking advantage of this building modernization program to lower their operating costs while making their buildings more valuable.
RI C-PACE assist’s building owners in getting access to affordable, long-term financing that can cover 100 percent of an energy efficiency or clean energy project, resulting in no upfront payments. Projects are designed so that the resulting energy cost savings outweigh the PACE payments, enabling a cash-flow-positive project. Due to the fact that financing is tied to a specific building, owners are not required to sign a personal guarantee and payments can transfer to a new owner should the building be sold.
Owners or prospective purchasers of commercial, industrial, multifamily (five or more units) or non-profit buildings, will want to attend this information session. Registration is free and can be done online at the link below or by contacting Bob Rulli, Project Manager, Warren Department of Community Development and Planning.
What: Rhode Island C-PACE information session
When: January 17, 2018 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM (Presentation starts at 5:00 PM)
Where: Hope & Main, 691 Main Street, Warren, RI 02885
Cost: Free – Light refreshments will be served
On Line Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rhode-island-building-owner-information-session-ri-c-pace-program-tickets-41757678340
Contact: Bob Rulli, Project Manager, Town of Warren, Department of Community Development & Planning, 401-289-0529, email@example.com
An Update from the State House
Welcome to the first edition of Under the Dome 2018!
On January 2, 2018, the legislature began its new year. In the coming weeks, legislation will be filed, hearings will be held and the Chamber may ask you to contact your legislators when the need arises. If you haven’t done so already, please go to the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s web page, https://vote.sos.ri.gov/ and enter your information as requested (if you live in Rhode Island), so that you will know who represents you as a State Representative and a State Senator. Thank you for your help!
The calendar for 2018 has been released. The key dates to keep in mind are:
Opening Day January 2, 2018
Last Day for Senate Public Bill Introduction February 8, 2018
Last Day for House Public Bill Introduction February 15, 2018
Winter Break February 19-23, 2018
Spring Recess April 16-20, 2018
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 7014, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (Creates an economic hardship relief fund from penalties imposed on contractors for past due road or bridge projects to be paid to business owners who can show a decline in revenue as a result of the past due completion of a road or bridge project.)
House Bill No. 7023, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - REGULATORY POWERS OF ADMINISTRATION (Provides that any rate increase with respect to electric distribution companies would be no greater than the increase in the Consumer Price Index or five and one-half percent (5.5%), whichever is greater.)
House Bill No. 7024, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- HEALTHY WORKPLACE (Creates the "Healthy Workplace Act of 2018 and establishes a cause of action against employers and employees for workplace bullying, harassment and other abusive conduct that is tolerated by employers.)
House Bill No. 7038, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW - GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS - CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT AND IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION ACT OF 2006 (Provides that a credit reporting agency may not charge a consumer any fee in connection with the placement, temporary lifting or permanent removal of a credit security freeze.)
House Bill No. 7058, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - VETERANS' SMALL BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAM (Creates a transitioning veterans' small business loan program through the commerce corporation.)
Senate Resolution No. 2001, JOINT RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE STATE TO ENTER INTO FINANCING LEASE AND PAYMENT AGREEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF A BALLPARK IN THE CITY OF PAWTUCKET
Senate Bill No. 2002, AN ACT RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES -- REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES AND PROJECTS (Permits redevelopment agencies to finance the construction of projects for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, institutional, public, or other purposes contemplated by a redevelopment plan.)
The Children’s Workshop is a family owned business that started in 1990. David MacDonald wanted quality childcare for his employees, but couldn’t find it. So, he decided to open his own, the first one being in Lincoln RI. The Children’s Workshop Warren was his seventh purchase and we have grown to 19 total locations. Today his daughters Maggie Teller and Bailey Kent have taken over the day to day of running the business.
The Warren center continues our mission of high quality education and care having been Bright Stars rated and NAEYC accredited. The Children’s Workshop believes that elementary is too late to start your child’s education. We follow the R.I Early Learning Standards as one part of our curriculum frameworks. The most crucial years of development is the first 5 years of life, we prepare your child’s education not only for school but for the rest of their lives.
Providing families with infant care all the way through before/after school and school vacation care. Families enroll in the Warren center when their child is as young as six weeks old and become part of the Warren family until their children turn13 in our school age classroom. This is so important for the continuity and the consistency of their education and care.
The Director Abbie Jo Francis is a lifetime Warren resident. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education and is working towards her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood. Abbie-Jo has been working at the Warren center for 15 years. You will find that our teachers have longevity, hold degrees, and continue to pursue professional development. All teachers at the Warren center are also CPR and First Aid certified. Kayla Arruda one of our teachers in the Warren center, sits on The Children’s Workshop’s education committee, as well as the RIAEYC’s Young Leaders Community of Practice. As part of this organization, Kayla will help to influence the future of the early childhood education field, help the organization recruit more members, strengthen the retention and engagement of other young professionals, and advocate for Rhode Island’s youngest children.
Our curriculum does not come out of a box, it is based on the emergent curriculum and we target their interest, so they develop a love of learning. The Warren Center has large separate playgrounds for individual age groups and outdoor activities. We have a robust summer program with built in swimming pool and certified life guards. We offer Knuckle Bones gross motor activities, and a music program by Rob Coyne located in Warren also. These programs are included in your tuition.
The Warren Children’s Workshop is open 5 days a week from 6:30am-6:00p. We are located at 410 Child Street in Warren RI. Give us a call at 401-247-2503 to schedule a visit we guarantee you are going to love us.