R.I. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio announced at a legislative breakfast in Lincoln the introduction of legislation to create a statewide tangible property tax exemption of $100,000. This would eliminate the tax for 85% of Rhode Island businesses as it is currently levied on small businesses for property other than real estate, such as equipment, computers, and furniture, with rates varying by municipality. Under the proposed legislation, businesses with assets totaling less than $100,000 would be exempt, with local governments being reimbursed for the lost revenue, similar to how the state recently eliminated the municipal car tax. The cost to the state has been estimated at $36.6 million per year by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council. The legislation would also require municipalities to cap their local tangible tax rates at whatever rate was set during the current fiscal year. Sponsor state Sen. Melissa Murray said the tax was a financial and administrative burden for small businesses and the $100,000 threshold would give them much-needed relief. Ruggerio argued the cost to the state is worth it to support Rhode Island companies, maintaining that the rest would only have to pay taxes on tangible assets exceeding $100,000. The legislation is expected to be introduced later in the day Thursday, with a possible effective date of fiscal year 2024-25 if passed.

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