After a series of productive discussions last week, Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio announced Monday that they have reached an agreement that will allow the budget to move forward.
As part of the agreement, both leaders plan to present stand-alone legislation to their respective chambers that will address concerns related to the sustainability of the car tax phase-out. The legislation will mandate that the director of revenue file annual reports with both the Senate and the House and provide recommendations regarding the motor vehicle phase-out. The first report is due January 1, 2021.
The Senate has agreed to reconvene on Thursday to pass the budget that had been passed by the House. The Senate will take up the stand-alone bill at that time regarding the car tax phase out. Both the House and Senate have also agreed to reconvene on September 19th to take up other pieces of legislation that did not get addressed before the end of the session. Details regarding which bills will be addressed in September are still being worked out between the House and the Senate.
“I look forward to having the Senate return on Thursday to finalize the budget process. The concerns of the budget impasse expressed by city and town leaders have not been lost on me, but I needed to balance those concerns with the feasibility of the car tax phase-out, particularly in the out years. I’m pleased the Speaker recognized the concerns of the feasibility of the car tax phase-out that I share with my colleagues in the out years. This compromise allows the budget process to move forward, and I appreciate the Speaker’s willingness to work through our differences,” said President Ruggerio.
“I’m pleased the Senate recognized the importance of moving forward and reconvening on Thursday to finalize the budget process. The car tax phase-out remains in the budget and the relief Rhode Islanders desire from this punitive tax will be implemented as I promised. We also recognize the Senate’s concerns related to the car tax phase-out from a long-term perspective, and I think it makes sense for the Director of Revenue to commission an annual study on how this program and other programs are working in conjunction with projected revenue. The House of Representatives will be reconvening in September to pass the Senate’s car tax legislation in addition to other bills. I thank President Ruggerio for his diligence in resolving our budget disagreement,” said Speaker Mattiello.