October 10, 2007

Move along, nothin' to see here: R.I. has nation’s worst business tax climate

Marc Comtois

The sun rose and somewhere a dog bit a man. And the Tax Foundation has new numbers {PDF} that paint the usual grim picture for Rhode Island. Here are some bullet points taken from the ProJo story on the matter (all are quotes from the piece):

  • The Tax Foundation based its rankings on five taxes: corporate, individual income, sales, unemployment and property. Rhode Island ranked 50th, meaning that its taxes overall are higher than any other state in the country.

  • Rhode Island also ranks 50th nationally in job creation from 2003 to 2006...42nd in production growth, and 48th in income growth.

  • Rhode Island has consistently ranked at the bottom of the pack since the study was first conducted in 2003. (Rhode Island used to rank 49th until 2004, before dropping to 50th.)

  • Of the five taxes measured, the worst individual score for Rhode Island was given to the state unemployment insurance tax and its property tax. Rhode Island’s unemployment insurance tax ranked 50th in the country in terms of business friendliness, while property taxes ranked 48th, according to the report. The unemployment tax, however, is given the least weight of all the taxes in the index.

  • The least onerous ranking was given to Rhode Island’s sales tax, which ranked 33rd in the nation. (The state’s individual income tax ranked 47th and its corporate tax ranked 34th.)
  • Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

    Posted by: Greg at October 10, 2007 8:42 AM


    Posted by: Greg at October 10, 2007 8:43 AM

    the good news for the neo-Communist majority under the dome is that they can justify their next round of insanities with the accurate statement "this will not adversley affect our business climate ranking".

    Posted by: Mike at October 10, 2007 8:55 AM

    Sorry Greg and Mike, the Tax Foundation has been proven to fudge the numbers. They have twice had to go back and re release reports because their numbers were so bad.

    Why is it that when you are proven wrong the only defense you have is a snide remark ?


    Posted by: Pat Crowley at October 10, 2007 10:24 AM

    I must have learned it from you, Ducky. Do you have an evidence that Rhode Island DOESN'T have the worst business tax climate?

    Posted by: Greg at October 10, 2007 10:36 AM

    >> The rankings do not evaluate the overall business climate, which economic policy analysts say includes such variables as schools, roads and proximity to other markets.

    As we know, our schools rank below average for the U.S., which in turn ranks below average in international comparisons. So scratch that, we're totally uncompetitive in that regard too (thanks a lot NEARI!).

    Our roads are rutted and potholed, and bridges collapsing (e.g., Sakonnet). This though we also have one of the nation's highest gas taxes (the proceeds of which the Democrat General Assembly funnels into union giveaways and welfare). So scratch that, we're totally uncompetitive in that regard too.

    Well, we're relatively close to Boston and NYC. As Bill Murray said in Caddyshack: "So I've got that going for me!"

    Posted by: Tom W at October 10, 2007 11:42 AM

    The Milken Institute published a study in September titled The Best Performing Cities 2007. Providence is grouped with New Bedford and Fall River. None of the top 25 are in New England - none. Providence is number 7 in the biggest losers. I don't have a link to the study, but I'll bet google does. They have a specific methodology that weights year on year gains/losses, not absolutes so its best to read it before making any conclusions. I've given it to my 25 year old son to review as I've sadly concluded that his best chance for a career rather than a job is to leave the region.

    Posted by: chuckR at October 10, 2007 12:36 PM

    Each year, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) releases a criticism of the Tax Foundation’s annual calculation of Tax Freedom Day. The CBPP is a Washington-based think tank that describes its mission as “working … on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.” Much of the CBPP’s policy output is focused on defending and expanding federal programs that affect these demographic groups. As a result, the CBPP’s research commonly advocates higher tax revenues aimed at funding these ideological priorities.

    The CBPP’s criticisms of Tax Freedom Day have varied over the years, but typically center on two main criticisms. First, they object to the use of the word “average” to describe the tax burden of the nation as a whole, because it may over- or understate the tax burden faced by particular taxpayers. Second, the CBPP argues that the Tax Freedom Day calculation overstates tax burdens by using Bureau of Economic Analysis data which allegedly count non-tax items as taxes and exclude certain types of income. Recently the CBPP has made an additional criticism, alleging that Tax Freedom Day provides unreliable state and local tax burden estimates. These three criticisms are examined in detail below.

    Read on.

    Posted by: Marc Comtois at October 10, 2007 12:36 PM

    >> the Tax Foundation has been proven to fudge the numbers. They have twice had to go back and re release reports because their numbers were so bad.

    IF this is true, it just goes to show that the Tax Foundation has a lot more integrity than NEARI.

    Posted by: Frank at October 10, 2007 12:48 PM

    >>I've given it to my 25 year old son to review as I've sadly concluded that his best chance for a career rather than a job is to leave the region.

    Good ChuckR.

    I wish somebody had done that for me.

    At my age, it's hard (if not impossible) to pull up stakes and start over again from scratch somewhere else.

    But knowing what I know now I dearly wish that I'd established myself in the Sunbelt way back when (as did most of my RI high school friends).

    My recommendation to any twenty-something that doesn't plan:

    a) to be a state worker, or

    b) waiting tables for the rest of your life in a Newport restaurant or at a casino, or

    c) on welfare

    is to get the hell out of RI as soon as you're out of college / graduate school and head for the Sunbelt.

    You'll make more money there, have lower taxes, and a lower cost of living, your kids can attend better schools - and then someday use some of the savings to buy a vacation property here.

    RI is a GREAT place to have a second home / condo - it's just a TERRIBLE place to be an employer / employee in the private sector, and a TERRIBLE place to have your taxable residency.

    Posted by: Tom W at October 10, 2007 12:48 PM

    I like the answer Sal Kaplan (Kaplan serves as the Executive Counselor to the Governor on Economic Growth and Community Development.) gave to PROJO.

    “Saul Kaplan, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, said he had not seen the report yesterday, but issued a written statement that said: “Rhode Island must continue to improve its tax structure. Our tax position limits our competitiveness in attracting and retaining business and puts a heavy burden on our citizens. This report reminds us that we cannot resolve our current budget issues by raising taxes. We must create a tax climate that supports economic growth and work aggressively to raise the state’s top line revenue through private sector job growth.”

    As for the Milken Institute 200 best performing metro centers in the US report, RI was ranked in 2003 no ranking, 2004 # 46, in 2005 # 75 and 2007 # 150. RI has been slowly sinking towards the bottom.

    This also coincides with the Tax Foundation worst business climate ranking of 50 dead last in nation.

    American Automobile Association ranked RI in 2007 as the 3rd most expensive state for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) to vacation at $345 a day. Hawaii ranked #1 and Washington DC ranked #2. In 2006 RI was ranked #4.

    CNN Money ranks Providence, RI as the 3rd least tax friendly city in US behind #1 Bridgeport, CT and #2 Philadelphia, PA

    Is the good ship RI sinking under current leadership????

    Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2007 6:38 PM

    Ken says, "Is the good ship RI sinking under current leadership????"

    YES. That includes BOTH the governor and the G.A. leadership. If people think this is a partisan issue, they're wrong.

    Posted by: Thomas at October 10, 2007 6:48 PM

    As I stand in at South Station in RI, I'm pained because I cannot get a job in RI paying me what it costs to live in RI.

    Conversely, the housing market in MA is so exhorbant that I can't even afford a matchbox let alone a cardboard box.

    It seems that no one cares about these studies and just brushes them off. But, when folks want to decry the Governor's lack of job creation (50th worst in the US from 2003-06) I doubt Pat Crowley will think those numbers were fudged and/or look into why those numbers are what they are.

    It really is time for a revolution in our state or 5-10 years down the road, or less, we're going to face a fiscal crisis unlike any we've seen. We cannot continue to spend, spend, spend, as the tax base moves, works, and lives elsewhere.

    Posted by: donroach at October 10, 2007 8:04 PM

    Gerry Martineau tried his damndest to make this state business friendly, and he gets thanked with an indictment. He, Bill Irons, John Celona, Steve Alves are trying to bring this revolution to Rhode Island, and they get slapped in the face.

    Posted by: rhody at October 11, 2007 11:07 AM


    Ingrates, Rhody. We're all ingrates.

    Posted by: Monique at October 11, 2007 3:38 PM

    Your site is really great! Please visit my one at http://cialis03.info/ (meeble.in

    Posted by: Michael at February 15, 2008 6:24 PM
    Post a comment

    Remember personal info?

    Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.