Pichardo pitches vehicle excise tax changes for greater taxpayer relief

STATE HOUSE – Sen. Juan M. Pichardo (D-Dist. 2, Providence) has filed a
bill that would change the system used to assess used motor vehicles
when determining state motor vehicle excise taxes to one based on the
average trade-in price, rather than the retail price.

Senator Juan Pichardo of RI
Senator Juan Pichardo of RI

«When we eliminated the reimbursement aid program for the motor vehicle
taxes in 2010, we saw a lot more of our less affluent Rhode Islanders
paying excise taxes,» Senator Pichardo said. «If we’re going to make
people pay this tax, we need to make sure it’s fair for everyone. To me,
it doesn’t make a lot of sense to base these taxes on retail values if
you would receive less for a trade-in. Feedback from my constituents has
also led me to believe that one month is not enough time to appeal an
issue with a tax statement. Obviously, I think it’s important to point
out that this bill would provide some taxpayer relief in the process,
but ultimately, we’re also building a more equitable system.»

Senator Pichardo’s bill (2014-S 2148
<http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText14/SenateText14/S21
48.pdf> ), if enacted, would also extend the appeal period from 30 to 45
days. The law would take effect on Jan. 3, 2015.

In 2010, the $133-million aid program designed to reimburse
municipalities for exempting the first $6,000 in value of a motor
vehicle was eliminated. Cities and towns were then given the option of
reducing the vehicle tax exemption to $500 to balance the significant
cut in aid. Some communities chose to cut the exemption to $500, while
only a few others were willing to foot the bill and keep the $6,000
exemption.

Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Paul V. Jabour (D-Dist. 5,
Providence), Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), Frank A. Ciccone
III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) and Senate Majority Whip
Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence). The legislation has been
referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. Representatives K. Joseph
Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19,
Warwick, Cranston) sponsor similar legislation (2014-H 7066
<http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText14/HouseText14/H706
6.pdf> , 2014-H 7130
<http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText14/HouseText14/H713
0.pdf> ) in the House.

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