Chafee says tax increase of some kind needed


Rhode¬†Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he’ll keep pushing to expand state sales taxes despite opposition from leading lawmakers.

Chafee told The Associated Press Thursday that new revenue is needed to eliminate a projected $331 million deficit. The Independent says spending cuts alone would cripple vital state programs.

Earlier Thursday, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed said lawmakers will look to spending cuts and consolidation to balance the budget.

House Speaker Gordon Fox derailed Chafee’s tax plan this week, calling it unacceptable and saying it won’t pass the House.

Paiva Weed told NBC 10 that she agreed with Fox’s statements.

“We share (the business groups’) concerns. I think, perhaps, the most significant thing I can say is one that I’ve said all along, and that’s we share the concerns of small business that the governor’s budget in its current form is not acceptable and would have a detrimental effect on Rhode Island’s economy,” she said.

Chafee wanted to expand sales taxes to cover more goods and services to raise $165 million. He says new revenue will allow the state to reduce highway debt, improve education and assist struggling cities and towns.

“There are no easy answers here.¬† We’ve made cuts to cities and towns, $195 million over the last three years. The cities and towns can’t take any more cuts,” Chafee told NBC 10.

NBC 10 contributed to this report.

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