Governor’s Office: Apartment Tax Not Intended


Ever since Governor Gina Raimondo announced a proposal to impose a statewide property tax on residential properties over $1 million, if their owners do not live in them for a majority of the year, debate has raged as to what would be included.  Much of the discussion has been behind the scenes, among people who follow Rhode Island policy closely and representatives of groups that might be affected.

Initially, anonymous blogger CoffeeBlackRI suggested that the tax would apply to rental apartment properties worth more than the threshold.  I replied with an interpretation of the law suggesting that it would not.

The director of Office of Revenue Analysis, Paul Dion, told Katherine Gregg of the Providence Journal that his estimate of revenue that would be produced by the tax included “two-to-five-family residences,” along with other properties.  Some observers took that as conclusive evidence that the tax would apply to small apartment complexes.

A budget summary from Ted Nesi, posted today on WPRI’s Web site, seemed to confirm the interpretation.  Nesi quoted from a report by the House Fiscal office, “It appears that the intent of the legislation and the revenue estimate excludes apartment buildings from the tax; however, as written, the tax would apply to these properties.”

In a statement to the Ocean State Current, Raimondo spokeswoman Marie Aberger echoed House Fiscal’s report, affirming that “the intent is to exclude apartment buildings.”

Specifically, the intent is to apply it to the following categories, if they are worth $1 million or more: non-owner occupied single family residences, two-to-five family residences (only if they are non-owner occupied and not available for long-term tenants), and non-owner occupied estates, seasonal and beach property, residential condos, time shared condos, dockominiums, mobile homes, and vacant residential land.

The “two-to-five family residences” category was included in the estimate from Revenue Analysis because available data does not allow finer differentiation.  For example, wealthy seasonal residents often employ groundskeepers who reside on the property year round.

According to Aberger, the administration’s plan had been to draft more-specific guidance while writing regulations to enact the law, if passed.  “However,” she continued, “we are happy to work during the legislative process to modify the language, if necessary, to ensure that the intent of the legislation is carried out.”

  • George from Warwick

    “It appears that the intent of the legislation and the revenue estimate excludes apartment buildings from the tax; however, as written, the tax would apply to these properties.”

    Rhodent Property Owners & Citizens :

    Feeling the beginning of death from a thousand of Gina’s tax
    pin-pricks yet ??

  • Tommy Cranston

    Doesn’t make much difference. As long as the majority keeps voting for the D (as in dumb) party, eventually even the most modest of single family homes will be subject to this tax. A statewide property tax has been the wet dream of the kleptocrat left for decades.

    • isn’t that as much the Republicans fault for not offering a better alternative?

      • Mike678

        Not really. Independents and Republicans–and taxpayers– offer better ideas all the time. The party in power, whose ideology is more controlling, ignores them–because it can. Evidently people in this state prefer bad roads, a poor performing economy, mediocre schools and high taxes/fees.

        • I didn’t mean better ideas, I meant better candidates.

          • Max

            I use to think that too John until Loughlin and Doherty got their asses beat by Cicilline. The candidate mattered not.

          • Mike678

            Agreed, though many of the people in power today aren’t what I would call intelligent and they seem to get voted in. The Dems have done a good job of demonizing Repubs…any many less aware Repubs have assisted in this effort. So the complacent populace just nods and pulls D, and then wonders why fees, electrical costs, regulation, and taxes go up while pay stagnates. The lack of critical thought in most RI’ers is breathtaking, though looking at school testing results, understandable.

            Republican candidates need to be a cut above to gain attention. Perhaps the smart ones have already left?

    • Tommy Cranston

      and you know what? If the people keep voting for the crooked party they deserve EVERY bit of it.

  • Monique Chartier

    “Governor’s Office: Apartment Tax Not Intended”

    Thanks to Justin for contacting the gov’s office and clarifying this point.

    However, intent is secondary. If the Taylor Swift tax passes, the door will be opened wide to taxing apartment buildings (of all classes and sizes), commercial buildings, second homes of less than one million dollars, PRIMARY homes of more than one million dollars, primary homes of $750,000 – $1,000,000, et empty state cetera.