Chafee willing to reconsider tax on manufacturing equipment


Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he may be willing to reconsider taxing manufacturing equipment and heating oil as part of his plan to expand the state sales tax.

Chafee, an independent, met with more of his critics Wednesday during a breakfast visit with the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.

He said his plan for a tax on manufactured goods is resonating with business owners.

“I’d like to have a state in which we are making things that if you drop it, it makes a noise, and we don’t want to drive them out,” he said.

Earlier in April, businessmen from all over the state held a rally at the State House protesting Chafee’s plan.

Al Lubran, president of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, said Wednesday that he’s glad to see that Chafee’s thinking about it.

Lubran said he’s against any new taxes, and wants another approach to balancing the budget.

“What I would like to see is the government of the state going after expenditures that don’t make any sense and expenditures that have been allowed to occur over the last years that are unreasonable and have been runaway expenses,” he said.

Chafee said he’s not abandoning tax hikes, but said he’s also having thoughts about taxing heating oil.

“Heating oil is another one. Although electric heat is taxed and natural gas is taxed, boy, that’s an emotional hot button to tax heating oil. Manufactured goods and heating oil — there’s no good tax, but those are two that have really stood out through this process,” he said.

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

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