Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Session to Continue in Fall
As May, 2021 is nearing a close, this normally would be the time legislative leaders would be discussing which bills to pass and which ones to leave in committee until the next year. However, both the House and Senate have signaled that, like everything else in 2021, this session will be different. The Finance committees are expected to continue to do their work on the current fiscal year budget and next year’s budget (begins July 1, 2021) with the hope of releasing a final document for consideration mid-June. Governor McKee announced that he will partially open the State House June 1st. We are expecting to hear from the House as to whether they will return to the capitol for session and to allow the public to interact with legislators to discuss policy for the state. The Senate has said in the past that it expects to finish this segment of the session from RI Community College. UTD will alert you to any changes, once announced.
It also appears that the legislature plans to return mid-September to deal with a federal stimulus funds budget as well as any legislative bills that remain alive in committees. This means any bill not passed by the General Assembly in June will remain up for possible consideration this fall.
Minimum Wage Signed Into Law
It is official. The Rhode Island minimum wage bills were signed into law by Governor McKee May 20th. The first increase to $12.25 per hour will take effect January 1, 2022. The wage will increase to $13.00, January 1, 2023; $14 January 1, 2024; and $15 January 1, 2025. The original bill called for the $12.25 to take effect in October, but was pushed to January at the request of the Chamber and other business groups.
Governor Signs Employee Incentives to Return to Work
Governor Mckee signed two bills allowing those partially unemployed to earn 150% of their weekly benefit rate before losing unemployment benefits. This new incentive to return to work program officially started May 23rd and continues until June, 2022.
This Week At The State House
House Finance to Hear Environmental Bills and PPP loan bill
Today at the Rise, (approximately 5:00 p.m.) the House Finance Committee will hear testimony on a number of bills. The deadline for requesting to testify verbally has passed, but written testimony can be submitted today by 1:00 p.m. to HouseFinance@rilegislature.gov Indicate your name, bill number, and viewpoint (for/against/neither) at top of message.
H.5120, An Act Relating to Health and Safety – Economic and Climate Resilience Act of 2020,
creates the Economic and Climate Resilience Fund and deposits into it, money collected through a carbon tax. The tax is set at $15 per metric ton of carbon, charged at the first point of sale, and it increases by $5 per metric ton until it reaches $50 per metric ton.
The bill requires two other states (Massachusetts and one other RGGI state) to pass a carbon tax before the Rhode Island tax would become effective; but the other states only have to pass a carbon tax of $5 per metric ton, not an equal tax. The following chart shows the cent per gallon or dollar per gallon impact on prices:
Emission Factor kg CO2/unit
Tax Rate per metric ton
First Year of Enactment
Second Year of Enactment
Third Year of Enactment
Fourth Year of Enactment
Fifth Year of Enactment
Sixth Year of Enactment
Seventh Year of Enactment
Eighth Year of Enactment
International Carbon Bank & Exchange
In the first year of enactment alone, taxes assessed on gasoline, and diesel fuel could reach over $200 million. The Chamber has not been able to determine the impact on electricity and natural gas customers. This money would be paid by Rhode Island consumers throughout the year. At the end of the year, the Department of Revenue is charged with issuing a refundable credit to tax returns for businesses and residents that pay taxes, or direct checks to those that do not owe taxes.
H.5120 gives 40% of the collected revenues to residents; but that 40% is not divided equally among the population. First, the Division of Taxation would be required to divide the Rhode Island adult population into three equal groups: the lowest income earners, middle income earners and high income earners. Then the 40% would be distributed as follows: 50% to the lowest third of income earners, 35% to the middle third of income earners and 15% to the highest third income earners.
The bill gives 30% of revenues collected to businesses. Seventy percent (70%) of this revenue bucket would be distributed based on the percentage of full-time employees the business has compared to total employment in the state; and the remaining 30% goes to businesses most vulnerable to fuel cost increases from the tax. The bill gives 28% to support climate resilience, renewable energy, energy efficiency, climate adaption and low carbon transition initiatives in Rhode Island. And the final two percent (2%) is to be used for administrative expenses.
H.5674, An Act Relating to State Affairs and Government – The Green Justice Zone Act, creates a Green Justice Zone as a model that could be used in other areas of the state, with the first pilot program located in the Providence port area. It seeks to create a new governing board of 5 individuals, elected in a special election, open to residents of the green zone. Board members are paid and have the ability to hire staff as well as contractors. Any business that wishes to operate in the green zone would have to apply for a permit from the Board. No permit – no operation allowed. The bill then lays out a list of businesses that are not eligible to obtain a green justice zone permit: electric power plant that uses fossil fuel, waste storage facility, toxic material storage, fossil fuel storage, chemical manufacturing or storage, scrap metal storage or processing, cement, concrete or asphalt storage, incinerator, resource recovery facility, or large recycling facility. A number of these businesses are currently operating in the Port of Providence and would have to close if H.5674 passes.
H.5807, An Act Relating to Public Property and Works – State Purchases, requires the Director of the Department of Administration to promulgate rules giving preference in contract and/or subcontract awards to business enterprises whose highest paid executive receives compensation equal to 25 times or less than the median compensation paid to its nonexecutive employees. The requirement would not apply if it conflicts with the details of a federal contract or conflicts with federal law.
H.6248, An Act Relating to State Affairs and Government – Small Business Assistance Program, would create a forgivable loan program for new, existing or restarted small businesses with 50 employees or less for forgivable loans not to exceed $25,000. The program would be funded by federal stimulus funds modeled on the federal Paycheck Protection Program and would sunset December 31, 2021.
The following new bills have been filed:
House Bill No. 6347 Carson, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- WATERS AND NAVIGATION -- MUNICIPAL RESILIENCY (Establishes flood audit program to reduce flood risks, mandates Rhode Island infrastructure bank increase funding for action grants, require cities/towns provide priority list to increase municipal resiliency, establish a climate leadership academy.) H6347.pdf (state.ri.us)
House Bill No. 6352 Morales, Slater, Ranglin-Vassell, Henries, Potter, Kislak, Williams, McGaw, Speakman, Batista, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- DIGNITY AT WORK ACT (Establishes the Dignity at Work Act, to provide workers with more protection from bullying and harassment in the workplace.) H6352.pdf (state.ri.us)
Senate Bill No. 920 Acosta, Kallman, Bell, Miller, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (Regulates the manufacture, distribution and retail sale of vapor products in Rhode Island.) S0920.pdf (state.ri.us)
Senate Bill No. 925 Goodwin, AN ACT RELATED TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS (Regulates the imposition of surcharges on any consumer when using a credit card to make a purchase or other business transaction.) S0925.pdf (state.ri.us)
Legislature Moves to Provide Return to Work Incentives
Both H.6249 and S.858 are scheduled to pass in committee this week. The bills could be on the Governor’s desk for his consideration by the end of this week or next week. If enacted, from May 23, 2021, through June 30, 2022, an employee will be deemed partially unemployed in any week of less than full-time work if he or she fails to earn in wages for that week an amount equal to the weekly benefit rate for total unemployment to which he/she would be entitled if totally unemployed and eligible. An employee shall be deemed partially unemployed in any week of less than full-time work if they fail to earn wages for that week in an amount equal to or greater than 150% of the weekly benefit rate for total unemployment to which they would be entitled if totally unemployed and eligible.
Senate Labor Committee Passes Temporary Caregiver Expansion
S.688, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Temporary Disability Insurance Benefits was scheduled for a vote Monday in the Senate Labor Committee. The bill increases the temporary caregiver benefits to six weeks in a benefit year starting January 1, 2022; and eight weeks in a benefit year starting January 1, 2023.
Transportation Climate Initiative Hearing
On Wednesday at 3:30 pm, the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture will take testimony on the Transportation Climate Initiative – a regional cap and trade program for transportation fuels. If passed, Rhode Island would enter into a regional program with Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington DC, to mandate the reduction of CO2 emissions generated from the use of fossil fuels in personal vehicles and commercial trucks. The regional program will be governed by a 153-page model rule developed by the Georgetown Climate Initiative.
TCI sets a specific number of emission allowances that can be sold at a quarterly auction run by the region. It is a sealed bidding process. Successful bidders can use the allowances to sell petroleum products to consumers or they can hold on to them, or sell them in the secondary market. Petroleum products cannot be sold to the public without possessing an allowance – and a fuel supplier can only sell product equal to the number of allowances they own. Each year, the regional TCI group will decrease the number of allowance available at auction by 3% thus driving down the available transportation fuel for sale and the CO2 emissions as well.
Money raised at the allowance auction are divided among the participating states and must be used, in Rhode Island, as follows: 35% to benefit “overburdened and underserved” communities, 5% to administration of the Rhode Island program, and the remainder to programs such as public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, bicycles, resilience, broadband internet programs and other programs that assist in transportation energy efficiency. The funds may not be used for the general budget.
Written testimony can be submitted to the committee by emailing it to: email@example.com *Written Testimony must be submitted prior to 2:00 PM on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in order for it to be provided to the members of the committee at the hearing and to be included in the meeting records.
Members of the public can request to provide verbal testimony to the committee through the following link: VERBAL TESTIMONY *Requests to provide verbal testimony must be submitted by 4:00 PM on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
Revenues Better Than Expected
The Revenue Estimating Conference completed its work, giving way for the final phase of the budget process to begin. The good news – revenues are higher than previously anticipated. Total General Revenues for the current fiscal year are up an additional $177 million. The FY2022 estimated revenues are $146.7 million higher than anticipated back in November of 2020 when the Estimating Conference last met. Why are the numbers higher? The growth came from sales tax collections and personal income tax. Rhode Island is expected to collect $1.29 billion in sales tax this year ($79.5 million more than expected). The remote seller law is key to this result, as many people purchased items through the internet during the pandemic. Personal income tax collections are $89.6 million more than anticipated last November, for a total of $1.54 billion.
One area of tax decline came from the business corporations tax. In FY2019, the State collected $155.1 million in corporate income tax. Collections fell to $148.6 million in FY2020; and is expected to finish the current fiscal year at $114.5 million. The conferees do believe collections will rise to $147.2 million in FY2022 as we continue to emerge from the COVID pandemic. The other revenue stream that took a hit is the lottery. With casinos closed for much of the year, VLT and table games revenues were down as anticipated. Surprisingly, other non-casino lottery games were up $7.5 million and sports betting was up $3.4 million.
The legislature will now begin the final process of looking at the revenues, cash assistance and medical payment caseloads, repayment of any outstanding rainy day fund loans, along with all of the other state expenses, to create a budget.
The following new bills have been filed:
House Bill No. 6330
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE -- PROCEDURE IN PARTICULAR ACTIONS -- RHODE ISLAND COMMERCIAL RECEIVERSHIP ACT (Creates temporary non-liquidating receivership program for businesses with substantial revenue decline after declared emergency/suspended/ceased substantial part of operation resulting by emergency police/regulatory powers.)
This Week At the State House
Municipal Ordinance Moratorium For Restaurants and Bars
On Monday, the House Small Business Committee considered H.6119 SubA. This amended bill imposes a moratorium on the enforcement of any municipal ordinance or zoning requirement that would penalize owners of food service establishments and bars for any modifications or alternations to their premises in response to an emergency declaration by the Governor or local municipal officials. The moratorium would be effective during the period of emergency and for six months after the emergency declaration is rescinded or until January 1, 2022, whichever occurs first.
Minimum Wage Increase Takes Another Step
On Tuesday at 3:00 p.m., the House Labor Committee is expected to recommend passage of S.1, the senate version of the minimum wage increase legislation. The Senate Labor Committee is set to pass the House version (H.5130) Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. With both committees scheduled to vote this week, the bills will likely get to the Governor’s desk next week.
Incentives to Return to Work
The House Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on an amended version of H.6249, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations. For weeks starting May 23, 2021, and continuing through June 30, 2022, an employee would be deemed “partially unemployed” in any week of less than full-time work if they fail to earn wages for that week in an amount equal to or greater than 150% of the weekly benefit rate for total unemployment to which they would be entitled if totally unemployed and eligible. This is meant to serve as an incentive for employees to return to work. Additionally, the Department of Labor and Training has signaled that it will reinstate the requirement to look for work in order to be eligible for unemployment compensation. The reinstatement is expected to begin later this month.
Last Week At the State House
Revenue Estimating Conference – Caseload Estimates
The Revenue Estimating Conference completed its 2021 and 2022 caseload estimates last week. An interesting takeaway, for all Rhode Islanders, is to understand is just how much the State has in fixed expenses based on current programs.
Rhode Island Works is expected to have 6000 individuals in the program in FY2021 at a monthly cost per person of $182.93, for a total cash payment of $13,170,960. Monthly bus passes are estimated at $566,400. Supportive services are set at $585,300. Clothing allowance for children is $351,158, and catastrophic payments of $300 is expected. The total cost for RI Works in FY2021 is $14,684,118. In FY2022, the conferees expect the number of individuals to uptick to 6,565 individuals at a monthly cost per person of $182.93 for a total cash payment of $14,411,225. Monthly bus passes are estimated to be $939,482; supportive services at $585,300; clothing allowance for children is $350,00 and catastrophic safety net is $4000. The total FY2022 estimate for RI Works is $16,290,007.
In the area of child care, FY2021 subsidies are expected to be given to 5725 recipients at an annual cost per subsidy of $9822, for a total of $56,574,450. A large portion of this expense comes from federal dollars. In FY2022 the conferees believe there will be approximately 7400 recipients at an annual cost per subsidy of $9091, for a total of $67,273,400.
In FY2021 there will be an estimated 33,237 people receiving SSI payments at a monthly cost per person of $46.18 for a total of $18,418,616. In FY2022, the conferees believe the number may go up slightly to 33,400 individuals. The monthly cost per person is $46.18 for a total of $18,508,944.
In the area of medical care, which includes: hospitals, long term care, managed care, acute care services, and pharmacy benefits, the numbers are very large. In FY2021 the total medical assistance program is estimated to be $2,690,300,000. In FY2022, the conferees believe the total will be $2,886,900,000. To give you an idea of how they arrived at such a large number, FY2022 is expected to cost:
In next week’s Under The Dome, we will review the revenue estimates predictions adopted by the Revenue Estimating Conference.
The following new bills have been filed:
House Bill No. 6297 Casey, Craven, Kennedy, Amore, Messier, Chippendale, Barros, McEntee, Kazarian, Fogarty, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT – TOURISM AND DEVELOPMENT (Removes the requirement that five percent (5%) of the hotel tax be paid to the Greater Providence-Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau and redistribute the five percent (5%) tax to the city or district where the hotel or residential unit is located.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/HouseText21/H6297.pdf
House Bill No. 6302 Place, Quattrocchi, Newberry, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY (Prohibits public agencies and private businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccine before permitting any individual from entering the building or business.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/HouseText21/H6302.pdf
House Bill No. 6310 Cortvriend, Fogarty, Batista, Morales, Alzate, Felix, Caldwell, Bennett, Kislak, Handy, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY – TRANSPORTATION EMISSIONS AND MOBILE (TEAM) COMMUNITY ACT (Establishes the Transportation Emission and Mobile (Team) Community Act intended to limit and reduce indirect carbon dioxide emissions throughout the state while promoting the purposes of the transportation climate initiative program.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/HouseText21/H6310.pdf
Senate Bill No. 872 DiMario, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Euer, Quezada, Miller, Valverde, Goldin, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY – TRANSPORTATION EMISSIONS AND MOBILE (TEAM) COMMUNITY ACT (Establishes the Transportation Emission and Mobile (Team) Community Act intended to limit and reduce indirect carbon dioxide emissions throughout the state while promoting the purposes of the transportation climate initiative program.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/SenateText21/S0872.pdf
Senate Bill No. 874 Quezada, Euer, Seveney, Sosnowski, Pearson, McCaffrey, Miller, Valverde, Goldin, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS - CORROSION PREVENTION AND MITIGATION WORK REQUIREMENTS (Requires all contractors and subcontractors who perform construction, alteration, demolition, installation, repair or maintenance work, pursuant to public works contracts, to comply with industry standards for infrastructure corrosion prevention.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/SenateText21/S0874.pdf
Senate Bill No. 877 DiMario, Valverde, Sosnowski, Acosta, Lawson, Mendes, Anderson, Kallman, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE (Prohibits insurance carriers from charging out-of-pocket expenses to the insured for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and mandates that all COVID-19 testing or vaccination is free.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/SenateText21/S0877.pdf
Senate Bill No. 883 Lawson, Quezada, Cano, DiMario, Valverde, Seveney, Euer, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS (Requires all persons or entities collecting social security and other personal identification numbers to create and publicly display a privacy protection policy. Violations of this requirement would incur a civil penalty of five-hundred dollars ($500).) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/SenateText21/S0883.pdf
This Week At the State House
House Finance Meets Today
Today, May 4th, the House Finance Committee will take testimony on TCI/TDI as well as about the challenge of getting employees to return to work.
H.5789, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Temporary Disability Insurance – General Provisions, increases the number of caregiver benefit weeks from four weeks to twelve weeks beginning January 1, 2022. The bill, the companion bill to S.436 discussed in last week’s UTD, expands the coverage to care for a sibling or grandchild, and includes routine, preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic care as eligible reasons for TDI/TCI coverage. H.5789 allows self-employed individuals to join TDI/TCI, and they become eligible after making four quarterly payments into the system, or earlier, if the person was paying into the system prior to becoming self-employed. The bill changes the taxable wage base to the greater of $250,000 or a calculation using the maximum weekly benefit amount multiplied by 30 and divided by (.36). Lastly, the bill creates tiers of weekly benefits paid to lower income individuals. Minimum wage workers will receive 90% of the individual’s weekly wage. Those making two times minimum wage will receive 75% of the individual’s weekly wage. These new rates do not include dependent allowances, although no one is permitted to receive more than 100% of the weekly wage. H5789.pdf (state.ri.us)
H.6090, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Temporary Disability Insurance – Benefits, increases TCI benefits to six weeks in a benefit year starting January 1, 2022 and would increase TCI benefits to eight weeks in a benefit year beginning January 1, 2023. H6090.pdf (state.ri.us)
Two other bills attempt to provide a financial incentive for employees to return to work. The Department of Labor has signaled that they will reinstate the “work search” requirement sometime in late May. However, some in the business community believe a larger incentive to return to work is required. This issue seems to be splitting the business community.
H.6249, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Employment Security, allows employees to earn up to 150% of their weekly UI benefit while also still collecting the additional $300 in extra UI from the federal government. The additional $300 benefit is expected to end in September, but the federal government could extend the benefit. H.6249 allows employees to be deemed partially unemployed – and earn up to 150% of their UI weekly benefit rate starting May 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022. H6249.pdf (state.ri.us)
H.6218, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – RI Back to Work Incentive Program, provides incentive benefits for persons collecting unemployment benefits who return to work. The person would be eligible to receive $150 per week for thirteen weeks based on a forty-hour work week with prorated benefits for less than forty hours. Upon completion of the thirteen-week period, additional compensation up to a maximum of $1,950 would be paid on a prorated basis. These benefits would expire on January 1, 2022. H6218.pdf (state.ri.us)
Written testimony may be submitted via HouseFinance@rilegislature.gov but must be received by 1:00 pm Tuesday, May 4th. Indicate your name, bill number, and viewpoint (for/against/neither) at top of message. This inbox is for written testimony only. For faster processing, it is recommended that testimony is submitted as a PDF file.
Senate Labor Meets Wednesday
On Wednesday, May 5th, the Senate Labor Committee will meet at 5:00 pm to discuss some of the same bills as House Finance.
S.808, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – RI Back to Work Incentive Program is identical to H.6218 outlined above.
S.858, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Employment Security is identical to H.6249 outlined above.
S.272, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Fair Employment Practices, changes the definition of an employee to include volunteers, apprentices, and unpaid interns for the purposes of Fair Employment Practices Act. The bill also allows individual to be personally sued for violations of the Act. Under current law, only the employer can be sued for discrimination against an employee. S0272.pdf (state.ri.us)
S.837, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Temporary Disability Insurance – Contributions, makes a radical change in the area of TDI. This program, since its inception, has been a program for employees, funded by employees. S.837 seeks to reduce the employee contribution by half and require employers to pay the other half. The new payment system would start January 1, 2022. S0837.pdf (state.ri.us)
House Finance to Take Up Income Tax Hike Bills – Your Help is Needed!
Thursday, May 6th the Chamber needs your help! The House Finance Committee will meet to discuss two tax hike bills (H 5227 and H 5229) that would increase income taxes in Rhode Island, damaging our state’s competitiveness and our ability to attract new businesses and grow our economy. You can help by delivering the message: “raising taxes right now is a bad idea.”
The Chamber is asking you to submit both written and verbal testimony:
H-5227 increases the tax rate from 5.99% to 8.99% on income over $475,000 starting January 1, 2022. The money goes to the general fund
H-5229 raises the tax rate from 5.99% to 6.99% on income over $500,000 effective immediately and places the money into an account to be used for primary and secondary education. It is important to remember that the General Assembly can transfer money out of restricted receipt accounts in any budget document.
This is a bad idea - Here’s why.
Revenue Estimating Conference – Economic Overview
IHS Markit provided their best economic forecast for Rhode Island at the Revenue Estimating Conference meeting last week. Before offering predictions, they revised their December 2020 report to reflect actual data. Nonfarm payroll was revised down an additional 4100 jobs which also related to a further downward revision on state year-over -year growth from -8.7% to -9.3%. Unemployment numbers improved a little as the rate was7.9% instead of the projected 8.1%. Much of the downturn came as a result of the COVID surge at the end of the year. Not surprisingly, the change in employment from January, 2020 to February, 2021, was felt more by lower wage earners. Those making $27,000 a year or less experienced a -25.1% employment rate. Those making $27000 - $60,000 experienced a -10.8% employment rate; and those making more than $60,000 experienced a -1.7% employment rate.
IHS Markit predicts: (1) Employment growth will proceed at a steady, yet decelerating pace over time as the recovery continues (2) Growth heavily front-loaded to near term as recovery takes off (3) Overall, quarterly annualized gains average 3.5% over that period, for an overall net gain of ~37,000 jobs by FY23Q4 and (4) Unemployment rate falls from 7.2% in FY21Q3 to 3.8% by FY23Q4
At the sectoral level, most of the largest projected employment gains are concentrated in the categories most heavily impacted in Spring 2020
• Professional, Scientific, Technical Services (+6,200)
• Accommodations and Food Services (+6,000)
• Healthcare and Social Assistance (+4,300)
• Other Services (+4,200)
• Administrative Support Services (+4,100)
Of course, these predictions are made under the assumption that no new significant COVID related outbreaks occur.
May 2021 Forecast –Annual Percent Change
FY2019 FY2020 FY2021 FY2022 FY2023 FY2024
Employment, Total Nonfarm 0.7 -3.9 -3.9 5.1 2.4 1.2
Real GSP, (2012$) 0.9 -2.9 1.0 5.3 2.3 1.9
Total Personal Income ($) 3.4 5.8 7.1 -1.8 3.6 4.0
Wages and Salaries ($) 2.9 -0.2 3.7 5.8 4.5 4.7
Transfer Payments ($) 2.2 27.7 21.6 -20.2 0.0 2.6
Personal Consumption Exp. 3.6 -0.8 2.6 7.9 5.1 4.5
Unemployment Rate (%, Level) 3.8 6.2 8.4 4.8 3.9 3.7
Sugary Beverage Tax Debate Continues
The tax on sugary beverages is getting attention at the State House. While the revenue may be desirable to some, the debate seems to be geared more toward influencing nutritional choices of individuals and providing a revenue stream for a new program. If passed, H.5715 would levy a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce, starting January 1, 2022, on items such as: soda, syrups, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened iced teas and coffees, and other products with added caloric sweetener or flavored water with added caloric sweetener. Neither Massachusetts or Connecticut has a similar tax. H.5715 creates a new fund, called the “Retail SNAP Incentives Program.” The purpose of the fund is to promote healthy food access and nutrition for SNAP recipients. Recipients would receive $.50 credit on their EBT cards for each $1 spent on eligible fruits and vegetables up to a monthly limit set by the state.
What does the tax mean for businesses and consumers? A 5-gallon bag in a box, used by many businesses for fountain drinks, would be taxed $57.60. A 12-pack of canned soft drink would be taxed $2.16. A 19oz package of lemonade powder to make 8 quarts would be taxed $3.84. A 6-pack of ice tea (16.9 oz) would be taxed $1.44. An 8-pack of sports drinks (20 oz) would be taxed $2.40. A 2-liter bottle of soft drink would be taxed $1.02. This tax will hurt businesses and cost consumers money. If you wish to help on this issue, you can:
The following new bills have been filed:
House Bill No. 6265 (Secretary of State) Amore, AN ACT RELATING TO CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, AND PARTNERSHIPS -- UNIFORM LIMITED PARTNERSHIP ACT (Enacts the Rhode Island Limited Partnership Act to govern the law of limited partnerships in this state and repeal chapter 12 of title 7 entitled "Limited Partnerships". Effective 1/1/2022.)
House Bill No. 6267 Costantino, McEntee, Caldwell, Corvese, Hawkins, Phillips, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION (Provides for an interest and penalty free period for the payment of sales and income taxes due to the state for the calendar year 2021 and continuing through March of 2021 for income taxes and August 2021 for sales taxes.)
Senate Bill No. 858 Goodwin, Ciccone, Ruggerio, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT SECURITY -- GENERAL PROVISIONS (Increases partial unemployment benefits by disregarding an amount of earnings when calculating weekly benefit rate with expiration date of 6/30/22.)