|RI sales tax: Time to start a serious conversation
By Rep. Jan P. Malik
When I introduced legislation to eliminate the Rhode Island sales tax,
I indicated that I had one goal in mind -- to start a serious
conversation. Will Rhode Island eliminate the sales tax? Likely not.
Should Rhode Island have a serious discussion about where we stand and
where we should or could be? Absolutely. Doing nothing is doing a
disservice to the taxpaying citizens of our state and to the small
businesses that are suffering.
|Legislation would improve the Coastal Resources Management Council
By Rep. Donna M. Walsh
Rhode Island's coastal resources rank among its greatest treasures. We
are named the "Ocean State" for good reason, as our coastline has
shaped our history and culture, and is vital to our state's economy. I
have introduced legislation to improve and streamline the state's
primary agency responsible for protecting this precious asset, the
Coastal Resources Management Council.
|Tax expenditures warrant regular review
By Rep. Teresa Tanzi
More than $1.73 billion of state revenue was given up through tax
expenditures in 2009. Many of these expenditures were written decades
ago and are in desperate need of review. I have and will continue to
propose creating a finance sub-committee to review all existing tax
expenditures and make recommendations over time as to whether to
maintain, strengthen or repeal the 235 preferences that currently
|Historic overhaul of Access to Public Records Act
By Sen. James C. Sheehan and Rep. Michael J. Marcello
Have you ever had trouble getting public information from your
government? You shouldn't, but it has at times been a problem here in
Rhode Island. Legislation pased by the General Assembly and signed by
the governor took effect on September 1, making significant
improvements to the Access to Public Records Act (more commonly known
as the open records law) will fix that.
|Working to turn the economy around
By Sen. William A. Walaska and Sen. David E. Bates
There is not one simple action that can be taken to improve Rhode
Island's economy, some magical financial panacea or a better business
climate silver bullet. Yet thanks to actions taken by the State Senate
in recent years, Rhode Island is already making the concerted effort
and taking the steps necessary to restore prosperity to our state.
|'Good Time' legislation: Fighting for future victims
By Rep. Teresa Tanzi
In light of last year's release from prison of murderer Michael
Woodmansee, it was clear that Rhode Island's system of awarding time
off to prisoners for good behavior was too generous to people who had
committed very serious crimes. Under legislation I introduced, the only
way a serious offender could earn time off his or her sentence would be
by actively participating in rehabilitative programs, such as substance
abuse or educational programs that teach useful life or career skills.
|When being number one hurts
By Rep. Patricia L. Morgan
Businesses large and small are worried. Too many are surviving, but not
thriving. East year about this time they get the quote from their
health insurance coverage and each year it worries them more. With
increases of 15 percent to 22 percent, they simply can't squeeze the
additional cash out of their budget anymore. An easy, short term answer
to soaring healthcare costs is to reduce the number of mandates.
|The potential to grow RI companies through exports
By Sen. James C. Sheehan and Rep. Donna M. Walsh
Exports are a critical and growing part of our economy, and it is vital
that we continue to work to cultivate ideas and build on successes. In
Rhode Island, exports grew by 53 percent over the past two years, from
$1.9 billion in 2009 to $2.3 billion in 2011. That translates into the
growth of jobs. By expanding Rhode Island's product exports abroad, we
can increase the number of good-paying jobs for state residents.