During a 3 hour and 12 minute meeting on Wednesday night, Newport City Council spent a good amount of time discussing two resolutions that would generate more revenue for the city.
During discussions, several City Council members brought up that these two resolutions were introduced to them during a recent City Council and Legislature Workshop.
Also during discussions on both resolutions, City Council members made the point that these taxes are necessary to help with infrastructure and the need to improve Newport Public Schools, Rogers High School.
An important note – For both resolutions, the copy of the passed resolutions will now be passed on to the City’s legislation. Only upon introduction and passage at the State House would the resolutions come back before City Council for another discussion, fine tuning, and another vote (in other words – both are far off from becoming law anytime soon, and in my opinion have a low chance of going anywhere at the State House this session, but you never know).
Request to Legislative to Introduce Legislation to the RI General Assembly to amend RIGL 44-25-1 “Real Estate Conveyance Tax”
This resolution would allow the City to levy an additional tax upon real estate property transfers/sales (not to exceed 2%) of the purchase price.
The Discussion & Vote
After quite a long conversation and more than a dozen residents taking the time to speak in front of Newport City Council, this resolution passed 5 – 2 with McCalla, Taylor, Bova, and McLaughlin voting for and Napolitano and Leonard against.
Discussion starts at 35:00
Request to Legislative to Introduce Legislation to the RI General Assembly to amend RIGL 44-5 “Levy and Assessment of Local Taxes”
This resolution appeared in the resolution as an admissions tax where the city could tax any place that sold tickets for amusement, sport, or recreation a new tax that would not exceed 3% of the sales/admissions price of the respective event.
Councilor Leonard quickly introduced an amendment to the original resolution (pictured below) to include only organizations or venues that sell more than 20,000 admissions/tickets per year.
The Preservation Society of Newport County, International Tennis Hall Of Fame, and Newport Festival Foundation’s Newport Folk Festival Newport Jazz Festival were among the events/venues that were mentioned by Council members that would be among the organizations where a per head tax would be enforced. Each of the mentioned organizations are not-for-profits.
Other venues that could be close to or exceeding that 20,000 admission/ticket mark annually (now or in the future) that come to the top of my mind are Newport Restoration Foundation, Jane Pickens Theater, Newport Opera House, Fort Adams Trust, and Audrain Automobile Museum.
The Discussion & Vote
This resolution passed 6 – 1 with just Councilor McLaughlin voting against the final version of the resolution..
(Correction – An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the resolution was passed 7-0. The amendment moved forward with a 7-0 vote, the resolution passed 6-1.)
Discussion starts at approximately 2:00:00