Competing Visions for Rhode Island

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Rhode Island, like many states, is facing some tough fiscal and economic times. Its current budget deficit of $357 million is among the largest in the nation (relative to total spending) and its unemployment rate of 9.3 percent is nearly the highest in the country.

So, what does Governor Don Carcieri think the state ought to do in response? Why, repeal the estate tax, of course. After all, repealing it would drain away another $35 million that the state can ill afford to lose and would benefit fewer than 5 out of every 100 people who die in Rhode Island each year.

Others have offered more sensible approaches to addressing Rhode Island's fiscal woes. As Kate Brewster, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Poverty Institute points out, "revenue problems require revenue solutions." To that end, she suggests modernizing the state's corporate income and sales taxes, by adopting such reforms as combined reporting or by ensuring that services are subject to taxation.

To learn more about the need to preserve federal and state estate taxes, see CTJ's latest report.

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