The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has published a brief of mine noting ways in which the state’s sales tax is unfair — and increasingly so:
In summary, Rhode Island’s sales tax — the highest in New England and 30th out of 50 in the country — was first implemented to solve a problem that it did not solve, has been increased with the promise of reductions that never happened, and is leading to a stealth double tax.
Some of the points are cute, like noting complaints about municipal budget problems to create the sales tax in the middle of the last century. Some of them are well known, like the “temporary” increase that never went away after the banking crisis.
But the point that would outrage a community that wasn’t either bought off or beat down is that the state government is slipping into online sales taxes without lowering the rate as promised or even eliminating the minimum “use tax,” which is premised in part on capturing online sales that weren’t taxed. If you buy anything on Amazon this year and don’t itemize the “use tax” section when you fill out your income tax forms next year, you’ll essentially be paying taxes twice on your online purchases.