The Day

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.

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