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Sunday, February 13, 2011


Despite what some people would like you to think, our local and state governments do some good things for us. Would you really like to be assigned your own share of Route 1 to shovel out each time it snows so you can have “minimal government”?

Face it, services in a town such as Charlestown are funded by the taxes paid to the town and to the state.

Taxes to the town are primarily property taxes. Taxes to the state are largely income tax and sales taxes.  Expenditures by the state greatly benefit the owners of property, either through services that are used or by infrastructure that adds value to property in the town.

Some examples are:
             State road construction and maintenance.
             Construction, maintenance and operation of state beaches, parks, and recreational areas.
             Activities of DEM, DNR, State Police and the Emergency Management Agency.
             Rhode Island colleges and universities, especially our nearby URI.
             State funds that go to our school district and town.
             State health department
             State services for the elderly, veterans, handicapped and low-income families.
             Supporting economic development, energy efficiency and affordable housing.
             Support for the unemployed.
             Support for medical services.

Non-resident property owners make little or no contribution to state funding while benefiting from the services provided by the state.

We know that many property owners in Rhode Island plan their living arrangements to avoid state income tax. Many state services must be sized for the property served, whether occupied or not, or for the peak summer load. The year-round owners, willing to pay their share of taxes, have to pick up the government funding load for those who enjoy part of the year here but legally avoid funding the government activities that support their property value.

The non-resident property owners are happy to have their condo in Florida where they claim their residency and enjoy their home in Charlestown without contributing to the state funding they benefit from. I call them freeloaders!

Author: Tom Ferrio