Raimondo again vows to cut car tax in new video
In a new video she shared on social media, Gov. Gina Raimondo again vowed to cut Rhode Island’s car tax.
The governor posted the video on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, saying that while “there’s so much that’s great” about the Ocean State, from beautiful beaches to delicious restaurants, “there’s one thing that drives all of us crazy, and we need to fix it, and that’s the car tax.”
“Let’s face it, the car tax stinks and it needs to be cut. We can all agree on that,” she said, using the hashtag, #CutTheCarTax.
Raimondo went on to note that Rhode Islanders “deserve” car tax relief.
“You’ve paid too much for too long,” she said. “My budget cuts every single car tax bill in the state by at least 30 percent. If puts millions of dollars back into your pockets. So, let’s get together and finally cut the car tax, but let’s be responsible about it. Let’s make sure the cut is sustainable and affordable.”
During her state of the state address in January, Raimondo proposed cutting the car tax by 30 percent, which she said would give $50 million back to Rhode Island drivers.
“If we do this in the wrong way, we could put our progress at risk,” she said. “If anyone has a better idea of how we can cut the car tax while also protecting the investments we’ve made to grow our economy, then I want to hear it. There’s plenty of room for compromise, and I’ll work with anybody.”
But other people, including Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, have made different suggestions. He proposed phasing it out over a period of five years.
In fact, during a rare Twitter barrage in February, Mattiello savaged Raimondo's car tax plan, as well as her free college tuition proposal.
"I have heard from the citizens of the state and I understand they want the burdensome car tax eliminated," Mattiello posted. "The Governor is tone deaf on this issue and should start listening to the people of Rhode Island.”
Rob Cote, a Warwick resident who in 2011 spearheaded the car tax revolt, told NBC 10 News that he thinks both Raimondo and Mattiello’s plans are disappointing.
Cote, as he has stated for at least six years, said the best way to eliminate the “egregious” car tax is by changing the value from “full clean retail” to "average trade in.”
“When the governor or the speaker can issue specifics on any proposal I will assume that they are acting in good faith," Cote said. "Until such time, the lack of the simplest of fiscal specifics suggest only continued political rhetoric and excuses to continue the failed policies of the State of Rhode Island."
He also said Raimondo's plan is void of any fiscal specifics.
"Her words are meaningless to the residents, but more importantly to the tax assessors of the 39 cities and towns that as of this date, have no specifics of her plan, hence, they have no idea how her plan or any other proposal will affect their budgets in the coming fiscal year," Cote said. "The governor’s latest state of the state address and her latest video suggests that all Rhode Islanders, this year, will see a 30 percent reduction in car taxes. Let me remind everyone that car taxes are retro-active from the previous year of being registered, and that even if a bill was passed this year, no tax reduction would be realized until fiscal year 2018-19.”
Meanwhile, Raimondo said she’s open to suggestions. She hopes to reach a resolution soon.
“You want a car tax cut, so let’s work together to make it happen,” she said.