Lawmakers Propose Sales Tax Holiday in R.I.

Rhode Island lawmaker proposes sales tax holiday next summer

A Rhode Island lawmaker is proposing a sales tax holiday in August to keep shoppers from flooding into neighboring Massachusetts for a similar incentive.

State Rep. Joseph Solomon, a Democrat from Warwick, said Monday that he drafted the bill to give shoppers and businesses a weekend break from Rhode Island's 7 percent sales tax.

The holiday would happen on Aug. 6 and 7 and would be timed to fall just a week before an identical tax holiday in Massachusetts.

"Too often you hear about people from Rhode Island driving up to Massachusetts for their sales tax holiday," Solomon said in an interview. "It's about time for people from Massachusetts to drive down to Rhode Island for our sales tax holiday."

As in Massachusetts, the tax break would be on most tangible personal property that costs less than $2,500.

The state's General Assembly will take up the bill in January. Tax holiday proposals by other Rhode Island lawmakers have been shot down in recent years for being too costly to the state. Solomon said he believes the state will make up for some of the lost revenue because more shoppers will be buying restaurant meals or drinks, which are not tax-exempt.

Rhode Island's other neighbor, Connecticut, also has a sales tax holiday in August but only affecting clothes and shoes, which are already exempt from sales taxes in Rhode Island.

Solomon said he also wanted the proposed tax break to coincide with the weekend of Rhode Island's Victory Day, a state holiday on the second Monday of each August. Rhode Island is the only state to observe a holiday marking Japan's surrender during World War II.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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