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Thursday, May 9, 2024

Revenue for Rhode Islanders coalition announces 2024 Millionaires Tax campaign to ensure those making over $1,000,000 annually contribute their fair share

Tax the rich

The Revenue for Rhode Islanders coalition kicked off their 2024 campaign today to raise revenue for the state by creating a separate surtax – at a marginal rate of 8.99% (in place of the current top rate of 5.99%) on income above $1,000,000, ensuring those making more than $1,000,000 per year are contributing their fair share. 

The legislation, Senate bill 2355, sponsored by Senator Melissa Murray (Democrat, District 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), and House bill 7338, sponsored by Representative Karen Alzate (Democrat, District 60, Pawtucket, Central Falls), is estimated to raise $126 million in new tax revenue, and would only apply to taxable income above $1,000,000. It is estimated to impact only 2,134 Rhode Island tax filers. 

“The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen due to decades of policies that have helped the rich get richer,” stated Senate bill sponsor Senator Melissa Murray. 

“We can’t keep balancing budgets by cutting vital social service programs that our most vulnerable citizens depend on. This legislation will allow us to properly fund critical programs and services now that the federal relief money from the pandemic has dried up. This helps put our state on more solid financial footing going forward, and ensures a more fair and equitable tax structure.” 

“While we saw an influx of federal pandemic relief money into our State’s coffers over the last few years, these were one-time funds and have dried up. Looking forward, it is imperative that our state raise revenue so that crucial and often life-saving programs and services remain available to Rhode Islanders in need,” said House bill sponsor Representative Karen Alzate. 

“We can’t keep asking middle and working class Rhode Islanders to absorb more and more cuts without asking the wealthiest of wealthy Rhode Islanders to chip in. We’re simply asking the wealthiest of the 1% to pay a small percentage more on taxable income above and beyond $1,000,000, while having no impact on those Rhode Islanders making less than that amount.”

Khadija Lewis Khan, Executive Director of the Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center and a leader of the RIght from the Start Campaign, stated, “Rhode Island desperately needs additional state revenue to help families access reliable, affordable, and high-quality early care and education programs. Nine out of ten families in Rhode Island cannot afford the cost of child care, and there continues to be a statewide staffing crisis with many child care classrooms closed due to lack of staff. 

"Many child care programs cannot find qualified staff because they can only afford to pay wages that are a little bit above the minimum wage. Our state spends $46 million less in state general revenue on child care than in 2005. It is imperative that we expand access for families and children, raise wages for child care educators, keep our commitment to pay rates at or above the federal equal access standards which we used to do before the child care cuts. 

"We urge passage of this important legislation so that the state can help more families access child care and early learning programs.”  

Frank Flynn, President of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, stated, “As the influx of federal dollars dries up, and local municipalities struggle to keep up with budget demands, it is imperative that the state seeks additional sources of revenue. 

"By increasing the tax rate on income over one million dollars, Rhode Island will generate more than one hundred million much needed dollars every year to support important priorities such as education, childcare, and infrastructure.”

“Our state budget and tax system ultimately are a reflection of our values as Rhode Islanders,” said Nina Harrison, Policy Director for the Economic Progress Institute. 

“We don’t think most Rhode Islanders support a tax system that is heavily skewed toward the highest-income earners, who pay a much lower percentage in taxes as a share of their annual income, and skewed against the lowest 20%, who pay 13.3% of their income in state and local taxes. For the lowest-income earners, this ranks our state as sixth worst in the country. We all know we can do much better.”

“This proposal is about creating a fairer tax system,” said Alan Krinsky, Director of Research and Fiscal Policy for the Economic Progress Institute. 

“Our state tax system should not make things worse by increasing inequality and the gap between those with the highest and those with the lowest incomes. The average income of a filer in the top 1% is 73 times the average income of someone in the lowest 20% before the collection of state and local taxes, and 77 times after! This millionaires’ surtax might not erase that increase in inequality but would narrow it.”

 "Funding for infrastructure, childcare, public transportation, and education: these are all investments in business development and workforce development,” stated Kristina Contreras Fox, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the RI Black Business Association. “That's how the state uses its revenue to benefit everyone, not a select few. It's time for a real rising tide in the Ocean State. We need tax fairness now."  

To learn more about the Revenue for Rhode Islanders campaign, visit