Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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  2002 Signature
2002 Veto
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2001 Veto
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1997 Veto

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August 7, 1996


In accordance with the provisions of Section 43-1-4 of the General Laws, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 96-S-3025, Substitute A, "An Act Relating to Sales Tax Exemption for Writers, Composers and Artists."

This Act would create a new state sales and use tax exemption for art works or performances sold or used by an artist residing within a defined Arts and Entertainment District within the City of Providence. The exemption would appear to apply under the Act to "one-of-a-kind, limited" works of art.

The intent of this legislation to revitalize a designated area of Downtown Providence by attracting artists to live and work in the area is laudable. The enhancement and improvement of this arts and entertainment area is important to developing Providence as an attractive tourist and convention destination. I cannot agree however with the means of using this specialized tax exemption for a particular type of goods sold by a particular professional group living in a defined area of one municipality.

The exemption contained in this legislation is expected to be difficult to administer. In order to qualify for the exemption, the taxpayer must demonstrate (and the Tax Division must determine) residency and business location, the character of the work as "one-of-a-kind" or "limited." A special application process would need to be developed and administered by the Tax Division.

The Act also represents bad precedent by creating a special sales tax exemption for a particular class of goods sold in a denned area within a single municipality. One could reasonably anticipate future municipal requests for tax exemptions for other designated zones or other targeted categories of goods.

The sales and use tax revenue to be lost as a result of the Act is not detenninable at the present time, but could be significant to the extent the new exemption would apply to substantial taxes presently collected by the State. Finally, the sales tax exemption created by this Act would result in an unfair disadvantage, to artists selling works of art outside in the designated zone.

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


Lincoln Almond