Chafee takes tax plan directly to businesses


Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is taking his call to expand the sales tax directly to his critics.

Chafee, an independent, detailed his plan at a Newport County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday. He told local business owners that his proposal to impose sales taxes on new goods and services would allow the state to address long-term problems of education funding, road debt and pensions.

Business groups have sharply protested Chafee’s proposal and last week Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox called it unacceptable. But Chafee is standing firm.

Chafee says he’s in contact with legislative leaders but that budget negotiations are on hold this week as lawmakers take a one-week spring break.

Rhode Island faces a projected $331 million deficit. Chafee’s tax plan would raise $165 million.

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