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Lawmaker pulls name from tax legislation after admitting he may owe state $127K

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Rhode Island state representative has pulled his name from legislation that would put a 10-year statute of limitations on the collection of state taxes after acknowledging that he may owe the state more than $120,000 in back taxes.

Rep. Thomas Palangio, a Providence Democrat who has represented District 3 since 2013, told Target 12 he co-sponsored the legislation because he was told it was a “good pro-business bill,” but acknowledged he didn’t read the two-page proposal “as carefully as I should have.”

“It has been brought to my attention that this bill could be perceived to benefit me and a tax situation that I am currently working to address,” Palangio said. “Today, I asked for my name to be withdrawn as a sponsor of the legislation.”

The legislation, which requires state tax officials to commence civil actions on delinquent taxpayers within 10 years of the tax first becoming due, is sponsored by House Majority Leader John DeSimone, D-Providence.

Palangio owes the state $127,000, according to a list of the state’s top 100 income tax delinquents published by the R.I. Division of Taxation. He said he has been working with his accountant for several months to address the debt.

Paul Grimaldi, a spokesman for the Division of Taxation, said the department does not comment on individual tax cases. He said his office has not taken a position on the proposed legislation.

Palangio has been involved in Rhode Island politics for more than 20 years.

He was first elected to represent House District 8 in 1992, replacing Armand Batastini. He served in the House until 2002, when he backed out of a race for the newly redistricted House District 5. He later worked as then-Providence Mayor David Cicilline’s director of government affairs.

He returned to the House in 2013 after easily defeating Republican Rufus Bailey to win the District 3 seat, and was unopposed for re-election in 2014. Moira Jayne Walsh has already announced she plans to challenge Palangio in the Democratic primary later this year.

Continue the discussion on FacebookDan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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