Ruggiero introduces sales tax holiday bill
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Deborah Ruggiero has introduced legislation to establish a one-time sales tax holiday on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016.
The bill (2016-H 7010), would stimulate the economy by generating revenue for local businesses, said Representative Ruggiero.
“We should consider this sales tax holiday as a way to jump-start spending, boost consumer confidence and help drive consumers to our state’s small businesses at a time that is typically less busy. The later part of the year is usually the busy time for retailers, and if we can entice shoppers to start a little earlier with back-to-school shopping, or help convince those considering the purchase a big-ticket item like furniture or electronics to make a move, we might be able to make the season longer and more robust for local businesses,” said Representative Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown and Middletown).
The timing of the holiday is also meant to keep Rhode Island shoppers’ dollars in Rhode Island. Massachusetts offers a sales-tax holiday annually the second weekend in August, and no doubt many Rhode Islanders — and their money — make the quick trip over the state line to take advantage of the deal.
Representative Ruggiero, who has introduced sales tax holiday bills in various forms in previous legislative sessions, said the break is also aimed at helping to provide tax relief to ordinary Rhode Islanders, perhaps allowing them the boost they need to afford necessities or little extras.
“A sales tax break might make the difference for someone who has been on the fence about buying a new laptop for their student or replacing an old, inefficient refrigerator, for example. For those people, a sales tax holiday will provide them a real advantage, while also helping the local retailer who sells it to them,” she said.
The bill, which has the support of both the Greater Providence and Newport Chambers of Commerce, would exempt from the 7-percent state sales tax items priced $2,500 or less, and would not include vehicles, motorboats, meals, utilities and tobacco products.
While the state would be forfeiting sales tax income for that day, it may see some additional revenue from taxes on related items people buy later to go with their tax-free items. For example, if someone purchases a video game system that day, that person is likely to continually buy games and other products for it later on, and the state would collect taxes on those.
“This is a proposal that could help families afford the things they might otherwise do without, and it would help small-business owners by encouraging people to spend their money here in Rhode Island. I think this has the potential to have a significant positive impact for Rhode Islanders,” said Representative Ruggiero.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903