House Committee hears RI sales tax holiday bill

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The House Finance Committee took up a bill Tuesday night that would create a sales tax holiday weekend in Rhode Island.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Solomon Jr., D-Warwick, would designate one weekend in August as a sales tax holiday, where items less than $2,500 would be exempt from the state’s 7% sales tax.

Solomon says it’s time for Rhode Island to catch up to Massachusetts and Connecticut when it comes to sales tax holidays.

“I believe Rhode Island is missing out on a great opportunity, something our neighbors in Massachusetts and Connecticut have been doing for so many years,” he said.

Solomon realizes revenue would be lost, but says it would be worth it in the long run. 

“They’re saying it’s approximately $2.5 million in lost revenue, on the sales tax end, per day,” Solomon said. “However, I feel that’ll be made up by things that aren’t part of the sales tax exemption.”

Solomon said purchases at restaurants and hotels would fall under that exemption. He believes both the state and local retailers will benefit from the weekend.

“We have to get past the lost tax revenue and realize that we’re going to make it up on the other end,” Solomon said.

In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker recently signed a law requiring one weekend every August to be a sales tax holiday weekend.

If Solomon’s bill is passed, the sales tax holiday weekend would take place through August 10-11. 

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