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Home > News > Statement by Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns President, Mayor Donald R. Grebien, on the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

Statement by Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns President, Mayor Donald R. Grebien, on the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

Roughly two weeks ago, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello announced his intention to prioritize the elimination of the car tax. The League has long held that this issue is one that the State of Rhode Island and our municipalities have a shared vested interest in and a desire to provide needed property tax relief to our taxpaying residents. Just as Speaker Mattiello has heard from his constituents, so too have I heard from many of my constituents in the city of Pawtucket – as have many of my colleagues in their respective cities or towns. We’ve heard their message loud and clear that: it’s time that a solution be found to rid Rhode Islanders of our state’s most hated tax – the motor vehicle excise tax!

The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns fully supports the goal of putting a plan in place during the 2017 General Assembly Session. The League, of which I am the current president, has pointed out since 2010 in its “legislative priorities” brochure that “Rhode Island’s tax policy on motor vehicles is not competitive within the state nor with our neighboring states.” It is for this reason that the League welcomes the Speaker’s commitment to address this issue. We would, and will when the time comes, also urge our state’s policymakers to remain cognizant of the fact that reform in this area without appropriate offsets would most adversely affect our cities, like Pawtucket. In addition, our neighboring states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, provide a model foundation for reform to proceed, and their foundations for reform were supported by a major financial commitment by their state legislatures. A solution to provide our taxpaying residents with needed property tax relief must also provide a balanced approach to offsetting the revenue that our cities and towns rely on to provide essential services to our constituents.

For these reasons, the League has been in contact with Speaker Mattiello’s office to discuss the formation of a working group, led by the League, to draft legislation to address this issue in a comprehensive manner for our property taxpayers and our state. I want to publically thank Speaker Mattiello for his pledge to address this issue and find a solution to begin phasing out this most onerous of taxes during the 2017 General Assembly Session. The League is looking forward to working with the Speaker and the General Assembly to craft a solution to finally phase out the car tax in Rhode Island.

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"The birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Pawtucket is poised to undergo a 21st century evolution into Rhode Island's premier arts and cultural destination, an ideal community to live, work, play, start a business and raise a family."

- Mayor Donald R. Grebien

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