Bill would streamline motor vehicle excise tax in RI

Traffic drives through Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been a burr under the saddle for drivers throughout Rhode Island for years: paying car tax — as well as figuring out exactly what amount one has to pay.

“There is simply no reason for the exact same car to be taxed differently in every single municipality in Rhode Island,” said Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Providence, North Providence), the sponsor of a bill in the state Senate to create a statewide uniform motor vehicle excise tax rate. Ciccone’s bill would also create a fund to reimburse cities and towns that might lose tax revenue due to the streamlining of car tax rates.

“This legislation brings some stability and equality to our residents,” Ciccone added.

Ciccone’s suggested uniform tax rate would be $29.10 per $1,000 of valuation of the motor vehicle. That’s after Ciccone did the math and averaged all the tax rates across the state. They range from $9.75 per $1,000 on Block Island to $60 per $1,000 in Providence.

At least one state representative disagrees with the idea, Rep. Jared Nunes (D-Coventry, West Warwick).

“I hope it dies a quick death at the General Assembly,” Nunes said Tuesday.

Cities such as Providence that would lose tax revenue from the bill would be reimbursed using money from other municipalities whose car tax rates were raised.

“I personally find it insulting that a senator from Providence wants the rest of the state to subsidize the city of Providence’s car tax,” Nunes added.

No word yet on when the General Assembly plans to take up the legislation.

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