A Statewide Property Tax? (posted January 16, 2000)

Two key Rhode Island legislators suggested it may be time to consider a statewide property tax to fund education. Interviewed on the Ch12 Newsmakers television show broadcast January 16, Representatives Tony Pires (chair of the House Finance Committee) and Paul Crowley (an expert on education reform) complained that the current reliance on local property taxes was not working.

"The biggest disparity in our tax system repeatedly found by RIPEC is the property tax. That is the thing that just doesn't work. So a continued reliance on [local] property tax forever without tacking this issue is going to result in that inequity," Crowley noted.

Speaking of a statewide property tax, Representative Pires said that "the system that we have is very costly and not real efficient.... People today perhaps are more acceptable to the idea. Ten years ago, it would have been heresy to even talk about it. So many folks at the local level are so disenchanted with their systems that we need to talk about it.

Both legislators also supported repealing residency requirements for teachers requiring them to live in the school district where they teach and said it was time to talk about the possibility of statewide teacher contracts.