R.I. attempts to eliminate hated motor vehicle tax
Providence — A tax on cars is so despised in Rhode Island that the Democratic House speaker’s promise to eliminate it has overshadowed all other budget priorities state leaders are debating.
In Providence, where the annual motor vehicle excise tax is highest — $60 for every $1,000 of a car’s assessed value — repeal can’t come soon enough for residents trying to make ends meet.
“It hurts,” said Geoffrey Moran, after making a quarterly payment at Providence City Hall last week. He said he pays nearly $600 a year on his 2008 Dodge Avenger.
Complaints about the fairness of the tax, which varies by municipality, have fueled calls for reform. But Rhode Island’s cities and towns have become so dependent on the $220 million paid to them by car owners each year that any relief proposal would require a major redistribution of money from the state to municipal governments.