Narragansett May Backslide from Single-Tier Tax System


A return to the status quo for Narragansett? Tonight, there is a scheduled public hearing of the Narragansett Town Council and motion to repeal the single tax rate for residential and commercial property. In a tense October meeting, testimony from local citizens, small business owners, and taxpayer advocates largely championed the creation of the single rate as a pro-business measure. The passing of the single rate represented an important step toward circumventing Rhode Island’s hostile business climate on the local level.

According to the Narragansett Times:

Vice president of the Narragansett Town Council Matthew Mannix filed a motion to schedule a public hearing to repeal the passage of the single tax rate last week. The move comes after Narragansett, under the previous town council, elected to switch to a single-tier tax rate in a 3-2 vote in late October of last year. Before this vote, the town taxed residential and commercial properties at separate rates, with commercial paying 150 percent of the residential rate. The motion submitted by Mannix last week to schedule a public hearing on the issue is the first step in repealing the October vote and reverting back to a system of varying tax tiers.

Suffering with a 48th place ranking on the Family Prosperity Index, Rhode Islanders need bold action like the single tier tax rate to improve our economy. For too long, ill-conceived tax policy has contributed to a hostile business climate. Another benefit of the single rate is that entrepreneurs are not pitted against residential property owners in considering tax policy in the future. It is much fairer to treat everyone the same in tax policy. Only pro-business family friendly public policy will restore prosperity to our state.

In an October release from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity supporting the updated single tier tax rate, CEO Mike Stenhouse said, “If town families are to achieve a better quality of life, it is essential that more and better businesses, that create more and better jobs, have a better business climate in which they can thrive. The positive benefits of this plan clearly outweigh the arguments against it.”

Mike Riley Chairman of the Center, testified at the town council meeting on the night the new tax rate was ratified:

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Narragansett Town Hall, 25 Fifth Avenue, Narragansett. Citizens are encouraged to attend and speak out against this step backwards for our business climate. Your voice is powerful. Time and time again citizen participation has made the difference on these critical issues. Don’t let this step backwards for Narragansett go unchallenged.