Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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  2002 Signature
2002 Veto
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July 9, 2001


In accordance with the provisions of Rhode Island General Laws § 43-1-4, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 2001-S-0906, "An Act Relating to Taxation - Levy and Assessment of Local Taxes."

This bill, among other things, would define property tax classification in West Warwick regarding ratable property and allow the finance director to apply different tax rates to each class. It would supercede any previous state law to the contrary.

Just last year, the General Assembly passed into law Rhode Island General Laws § 44-5-11.8, which set standards for local tax classification plans. The law defines four classes of property, and limits the effective tax rate applicable to any one category to no more than 50% greater than the rate applied to any other class. The intent of the legislation, which I endorsed, was to establish a more consistent property tax structure throughout the state. This bill seeks to give the finance director of West Warwick the "authority to apply different rates of taxation to each class and determine the tax due and payable on the property." As such, this bill has the potential to eviscerate the uniform tax structure enacted last year. Moreover, if one community is allowed to set its own property tax structure and rates, others will soon follow. A return to the old hodgepodge property tax classification system is not sound policy.

It should be noted that I have not objected to minor variations to the statewide standards. A bill passed this session, 2001-H-6308, As Amended, "An Act Relating to Taxation - Levy and Assessment of Local Taxes," which would allow the town of West Warwick to adopt a separate tax classification for residential real estate of five (5) or more dwellings, is in that category. Moreover, that bill, unlike this one, was supported by a resolution of the town council.

For the foregoing reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of this veto.


Lincoln Almond