PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A new commission has been charged with examining Providence’s tax structure over the next several months.
The Providence City Council passed a resolution Thursday night creating the nine-member special commission for taxation and revenue.
The commission will be tasked with the following:
- Conducting a review of state tax enabling law, the city’s revenue streams from all sources, the city’s taxing and levying structure, study and analysis of the overall revaluation process, commercial and residential tax rates, and exemptions;
- Considering alternative revenue streams that diversify city revenue to reduce the burden on property owners;
- Issuing a report with recommendations to the Providence City Council within 120 days from the date of appointments, with the intent of finishing its work by Dec. 31.
Providence City Council President Rachel Miller appointed councilors Jo-Ann Ryan, Sue AnderBois and Pedro Espinal to the commission, as well as Michael DiBiase, Lawrence Mancini, Tom Sgouros, Sharon Conrad-Wells, Jane Driver and Robert Stolzman.
“I thank all nine members of this commission for answering the call to serve our city,” Miller said. “We’ve assembled a team of experts who will hear from the community, review our tax and revenue structure, with the goal of making Providence’s tax burden more equitable across all our neighborhoods.”
“Recommendations from the commission can ultimately lead to long-awaited tax changes for homeowners and businesses,” she added.
Councilors passed a $583 million city budget earlier this year that raised residential property taxes from $17.80 to $18.35 per $1,000.
“Raising taxes weighs heavy on all of us,” Ryan said. “We’re only able to tax according to the authority that’s provided to us by the state, so we’ll look at those laws and evaluate them. We’ll thoroughly examine our residential tax base and our commercial tax base. We’ll also look at our exemptions.”
In a statement, Providence Mayor Brett Smiley said he looks forward to working with the new commission.
“Currently in Providence, property taxes are the primary way we pay to deliver the high-quality city services our residents and businesses deserve,” Smiley said. “We are glad the council has initiated this commission to ensure we have a balanced tax strategy that supports the long-term growth of the city.”