Bill Would Exempt New Businesses, Workers from Taxes

State Rep. Gregory Costantino is pushing his "START-UP Rhode Island Tax-Free Zone Program."

File photo.
File photo.
A local lawmaker has sponsored a bill that would exempt new businesses and workers from taxes in an effort to jump-start Rhode Island's free-falling economy.

The "START-UP Rhode Island Tax-Free Zone Program" would allow the state to set up tax-free zones near education institutions. Businesses chosen for those zones would not have to pay state income, business, corporate, local, or franchise taxes and fees for up to 10 years. Employees would also not have to pay income tax.

"The state’s economy needs a defibrillator," said State Rep. Gregory Costantino, a Democrat whose district includes Johnston and Smithfield. "Tax-free zones are a big draw to outside businesses, and it will provide us with the jumpstart we need to induce growth."

Rhode Island as of Tuesday had the highest unemployment rate in the country at 9.2 percent.

What do you think of Costantino's plan? Share your opinion in the comments.
Brett Whitney March 18, 2014 at 01:33 PM
Seems unanimous so far... knee jerk short sighted "step one" thinking. Can certain groups of politicians start to think of the unintended consequences. Fair competition for instance... I left my cable carrier because they did not offer me a new customer package.
K-Stick March 18, 2014 at 04:47 PM
Rhode Island really needs to stop looking for the quick fix and get serious about change. Start by looking at the name of the state: Rhode ISLAND. We are currently wedged in between two of the highest taxed states in the Union. If we create an economic island in between these two states, an island with less regulatory-red-tape, with more aggressive STATE-WIDE tax incentives (not just the ones that drive 52-year old businesses out of state), people will come to Rhode Island for things like gas, cigarettes, clothing, tourism. Take advantage of the things we have that make business more competitive: I-95 corridor, rail, short and global shipping...Then, incentivize schools to not just encourage students to go to college, but to learn a trade, and invest in domestic manufacturing. Why should we subsidize URI to make students who will enter the RI (9.2% unemployment) Job market? They're just going to leave RI to find work...subsidize building a manufacturing base here in little Rhodey. All this BS about a quick fix is going to keep the status quo...oh, and you know what else will keep the status quo? Re-electing our state leaders who have been driving us into the ground. And if you think it's everyone else's fault and your local rep is working for you? Guess again, they are part of the culture that is driving us deeper and deeper into the hole.
Steven r March 19, 2014 at 06:43 AM
I guess the existing companies do not count
Moses Calouro March 19, 2014 at 08:50 AM
The EDC/RI Commerce Corp (Famous for backing 38 Studios) should have a plan in the can for boosting business in RI. They have come up with some great ones like Mass Exodus which brought competition for our company straight to providence with free competitor advertising and state business. The state needs to back existing RI businesses and not allow competitors to move in next door, steal employees, and obtain large competitive advantages by not paying taxes.


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