§ 45-13-12. Distressed communities relief fund.
(a) There is established a fund to provide state assistance to those Rhode Island cities and towns that have the highest property tax burdens relative to the wealth of taxpayers.
(b) Establishment of indices. Four (4) indices of distress shall be established to determine eligibility for the program. Each community shall be ranked by each distress index and any community that falls into the lowest twenty percent (20%) of at least three (3) of the four (4) indices shall be eligible to receive assistance. The four (4) indices are established as follows:
(1) Percent of tax levy to full value of property. This shall be computed by dividing the tax levy of each municipality by the full value of property for each municipality. For the 1990-91 fiscal year, tax levy and full value shall be as of the assessment date December 31, 1986.
(2) Per capita income. This shall be the most recent estimate reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
(3) Percent of personal income to full value of property. This shall be computed by multiplying the per capita income above by the most recent population estimate as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, and dividing the result by the full value of property.
(4) Per capita full value of property. This shall be the full value of property divided by the most recent estimate of population by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
(c) Distribution of funds. Funds shall be distributed to each eligible community on the basis of the community’s tax levy relative to the total tax levy of all eligible communities. For the fiscal year 1990-91, the reference year for the tax levy shall be the assessment date of December 31, 1988. For each fiscal year thereafter, except for fiscal year 2007-2008, the reference year and the fiscal year shall bear the same relationship. For the fiscal year 2007-2008, the reference year shall be the same as for the distributions made in fiscal year 2006-2007.
Any newly qualifying community shall be paid fifty percent (50%) of current law requirements the first year it qualifies. The remaining fifty percent (50%) shall be distributed to the other distressed communities proportionately. When any community falls out of the distressed community program, it shall receive a one-time payment of fifty percent (50%) of the prior year requirement exclusive of any reduction for first-year qualification; however, in the event that the total appropriation is increased from the prior year’s appropriation, each eligible community shall receive: (1) A distribution based on the community’s tax levy relative to the total tax levy of all eligible communities; and (2) A percentage of the amount of said increased appropriation which percentage shall be calculated based on a community’s distribution relative to the total increase in the appropriation. The community shall be considered a distressed community in the fall-out year.
(d) Appropriation of funds. The state of Rhode Island shall appropriate funds in the annual appropriations act to support this program. For each of the fiscal years ending June 30, 2011, June 30, 2012, and June 30, 2013, seven hundred eighty-four thousand four hundred fifty-eight dollars ($784,458) of the total appropriation shall be distributed equally to each qualifying distressed community.
(e) Payments. Payments shall be made to eligible communities each August.
(f) Mandatory participation for collection of debts. Any community determined to be a distressed community under this chapter shall, within three (3) months of said determination, contract with the tax administrator, in accordance with § 42-142-7, to allow the tax administrator to collect outstanding liabilities owed to the distressed community. The division of municipal finance shall determine which of said liabilities shall be subject to the collection by the tax administrator.
History of Section.
P.L. 1990, ch. 65, art. 66, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 138, art. 76, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 370, art. 40, § 153; P.L. 1996, ch. 176, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 595, art. 16, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 117, art. 11, § 2; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 25, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 151, art. 12, § 11; P.L. 2012, ch. 241, art. 16, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 142, art. 8, § 4.