The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns (The League) announced the priorities of local communities for the 2023 Legislative Session and in the FY2024 State budget. The League’s priorities reflect their focus for the legislative session and position on areas of critical importance to municipalities and taxpayers.

“The League of Cities and Towns encourages all levels of state government to work with municipal leaders to solve issues and understand the true impacts of legislation, particularly when it pertains to implementation,” said North Providence Mayor and League President Charles Lombardi in a statement. “As we continue to navigate the post-pandemic economy and adapt to our residents’ needs, stable levels of state aid are crucial, as every state dollar to cities and towns is effectively a dollar in property tax relief.”

Rhode Islanders currently experience the eighth-highest property tax burden in the country, according to The League.

“Rhode Island’s municipal leaders are an important piece of Rhode Island’s economic success,” said Ernie Almonte, Executive Director of the R.I. League of Cities and Towns. “As state leaders look to tackle the housing crisis, invest federal relief funds, and support infrastructure improvements, the League encourages members of the General Assembly to reach out to better understand the municipal, on-the-ground perspective in order to propose innovative solutions, improve efficiency and save tax dollars.”

Founded in 1968, the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns is a municipal membership organization that serves as the unified voice of local government in Rhode Island.

Unprecedented federal aid has supported the ability for cities and towns to continue to lead the way in budget restraint even in a crisis. Further Supported by sound fiscal management and improved state funding for education, property taxes increased an average of only 2.06% statewide over the last nine years.

The League’s priorities include:


  • Maintained funding for Distressed Communities
  • Fully fund the Payment In-Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program (27%) and re-evaluate the statutory formula to reflect current conditions.
  • Oppose Agency “Scoops” from quasi-governmental organizations which are funded by municipal fees.


  • The state must work with cities and towns to encourage housing construction and rehabilitation, and remove barriers to housing, such as infrastructure improvements. To accomplish this, municipalities need:
  • A clear menu of innovative solutions and funding opportunities from the state that can be implemented during the winter season.
  • Increased funding for infrastructure outside of federal aid opportunities.
  • Preserve and promote quality of life, based on the different communities’ needs and respect for the local voice in land use decisions.
  • Funding the implementation of programs and systems to support process improvements.
  • Increased technical support and adequate funding to departments and agencies that facilitate housing growth, including the Division of Statewide Planning and Department of Housing.
  • Workforce development to expand the pool of municipal planners as well as building and zoning officials.
  • Adequate state and education aid to support the needs of residents
  • A commitment to expand and fully fund reliable transportation options for residents, extending the urban service boundary.

Education Aid & Funding Formula:

  • Fully fund Education Aid and address Funding Formula concerns such as high-cost special education and multilingual learners.
  • Increase the state share of teacher pension contributions above the current 40% level.

Funding for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Resiliency:

  • Allocate $30 million to the Municipal Infrastructure Grant program.
  • Establish a Municipal Road & Bridge Fund.

Property Taxes:

  • Fully fund tax exemptions, or offer enabling rather than mandatory provisions.
  • Reform Renewable Energy Land Taxation.

Increase Accountability for Law Enforcement:  

  • Adopt recommendations to improve the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).

On February 3, Newport City Council will host a workshop with its State Legislative Delegation.

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