Thursday, May 9, 2013
Results from a recent executive survey ranked Rhode Island 37th for business.
A CEO magazine ranks Rhode Island as one of the worst states in the nation for business. Chief Executive Magazine ranked Rhode Island 37th based on a survey of corporate leaders. Survey respondents rated the Ocean State poorly in the area of taxation and regulations. Massachusetts and Connecticut ranked even worse. Massachusetts was ranked 47th and Connecticut came in at 45th place. The worst three ranked states in the survey were California, New York and Illinois. Texas, Florida and North Carolina, on the other hand, were ranked as the three best states in which to do business. What do you think about Rhode Island’s business climate? Is this a good state in which to do business?
The Committee on Appropriations presents a Barrington spending plan for next year at the annual budget hearing; there are now two weeks to comment on it before the Financial Town Meeting.
As expected, Barrington’s number crunchers are proposing a budget for next year that boosts taxes by around 1 percent. The spending plan does propose giving owners of older cars a slight tax break, which will be offset by a slight increase in property taxes across the board. The proposed 2013-2014 budget also proposes floating up to a $4 million bond to fix roads, which boosts taxes because of more than $300,000 in debt service added into the municipal budget. The Committee on Appropriations presented its budget proposal Wednesday evening at the annual hearing in the middle school on Barrington’s spending for schools, municipal services and capital expenses in fiscal year 2014. That $63.5 million proposed budget could change at the …
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
House Bill 5969 would add relocation expenses to the list of compensation as part of an effort to keep families safe.
Wednesday, May 8
A legislative proposal co-sponsored by Barrington Rep. Joy Hearn (D-63) will strengthen Rhode Island's Crime Victims Compensation Program. House Bill 5969 amends the emergency fund for victims section in the criminal injuries compensation statute to add relocation expenses. The proposal calls for emergency compensation for relocation costs not to exceed $2,500. The section already allows for emergency compensation for burial and crime scene clean-up expenses. Often for victims of violent crime, rebuilding their lives means finding a new place to live. This amendment will help families afford safe shelter. “This legislative proposal will change lives, and could quite possibly save them,” said RI Treasurer Gina Raimondo who announced …
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Barrington Town Council, in split votes, favors hiking the tax break for the lowest-income seniors, but ends the effort to start a separate tax-deferral program for seniors,
The effort to start a senior tax-deferral program in Barrington ended Monday evening, May 6. Approximately 90 lower-income seniors, however, saw their “circuit-breaker” tax-credit exemptions doubled by the Town Council. Both votes on the tax breaks were split: 3-2 against the senior tax deferral; 3-2 in favor of doubling the exemption. Town Council President June Speakman, Town Council Vice President Kate Weymouth and Town Councilor Bill DeWitt voted against the tax deferral; Town Councilors Cynthia Coyne and Ann Strong voted in favor. Speakman, Weymouth and Coyne voted in favor of doubling the exemption; DeWitt and Strong voted against amending the ordinance. Feedback from the Committee on Appropriations seemed to play a role in quashing…
Monday, May 6, 2013
Same-sex marriage was approved by the House and signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chafee, East Providence legislator led the commemoration of the Armenian genocide.
Same-sex marriage legislation becomes law On a final House vote of 56 to 15, the General Assembly enacted legislation making Rhode Island the 10th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. The historic signing came amid cheers from advocates and citizens who have pursued passage of the legislation since it was first introduced in 1997. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law about an hour later before hundreds gathered to watch the ceremony on the steps of the State House. The legislation (2013-H 5015B, 2013-S 38 A) was sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) and Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence). Click here to see news release. Kazarian speaks up in commemoration of the Armenian …
Thursday, May 2, 2013
A bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed 56-15 in the RI State House today.
Sixteen years after legislation was initially introduced in Rhode Island, same-sex marriage is now legal in the Ocean State. On Thursday afternoon, May 2, the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed the legislation by a vote of 56-15. Barrington's representatives voted for and against the bill. Rep. Joy Hearn favored it; Rep. Jan Malik did not. "This is a great day in Rhode Island, not just for the many Rhode Island families who will now get the recognition and equality that they so richly deserve, and not only for the thousands who have been fighting for decades for the dignity and rights of all citizens," said House Speaker Gordon Fox, the first openly gay House Speaker in the nation who has cosponsored the legislation every year…
Roger Williams University hosted U.S. Sen. Jack Reed on Wednesday, May 1, to speak about the expected doubling of student loan interest rates.
Noting that more than 45,000 Rhode Island college graduates would face higher costs because of a scheduled doubling of the interest rate on student loans, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed told current students at Roger Williams University on Wednesday, May 1, that he is working to avoid the hike. "They rely upon this need-based financial aid in order to make it through school, and we are at a moment in history where we need all the talent and all the educated men and women that we can muster," Reed said in a speech at the Global Heritage Hall Atrium just before noon. "The reality is that, students today are graduating with tremendous debt. It's not only affecting us from an educational standpoint, but from a macroeconomic standpoint." Reed explained …
Rep. Jan Malik introduced legislation to eliminate RI's 7 percent sales tax; the bill gets a hearing on May 15.
Thursday, May 2
A bill that I introduced in the House of Representatives this year calls for the elimination of the state’s 7 percent sales tax. That bill will be heard in the House Committee on Finance on Wednesday, May 15 (beginning at 1 p.m. in Room 35). Any talk about Rhode Island’s sales tax and what, if anything, to do about it generates a pretty broad range of opinions. On one side, many would like to see the tax eliminated, to give Rhode Island businesses an advantage over nearby states and to give consumers a break. On the other side are those who say eliminating the tax would leave an enormous hole in the state budget that could not be made up for even with improved sales of no-longer-taxed goods and items. In the middle somewhere there is …
Monday, April 29, 2013
Barrington School Committee member Scott Fuller said he thinks his colleagues need to come to grips with school spending before a new teachers' contract forces them into a corner.
Barrington School Committee member Scott Fuller called out his colleagues last week on proposed spending next year for the schools. He didn’t get much of a response. “Well, I guess I did,” Fuller said soon after the school board meeting last Thursday. “Their lack of response is typical,” he said. “We’ve had enough time to think about the budget. To my way of thinking, they should have had an idea as to what they want to spend and where by now, regardless of the contract.” He is referring to a new contract with the teachers' union, which is still being negotiated. A proposed overall school budget of $46.18 million has gone to the Committee on Appropriations for its review. That's 3.7 percent more in spending than this year -- about $1.46 …
The volunteers who serve on Barrington's boards, commissions and committees were recognized again last week at an appreciation dinner at the high school.
Barrington thanked the town's volunteers again last week for their service on 33 boards, commissions and committees. They were served a pasta dinner in the cafeteria at Barrington High School backed with music by a high school jazz quintet. Approximately 80 of the 125 or so volunteers were expected to attend, said to Town Councilor Cynthia Coyne, who served as emcee and coordinator. New volunteers and 5-year and 10-year volunteers were singled out for special recognition. Town Council President June Speakman and Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr. made remarks. Longtime volunteer Allan Klepper, who serves currently as the chairman of the board of the Bristol County Water Authority, read an original poem on volunteerism titled “My Mistress.”