Legislative Update from your
Chamber of Commerce Coalition
Article 11, Section 24, Infrastructure Bank. This Article attempts to establish tools for business growth by creating a pool of money that can be used to fund renewable energy and efficiency projects, green infrastructure programs, storm water and brownsfields programs. Unfortunately, the Article also encourages the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) for the efficient building fund. PLAs require all contractors and subcontractors working on the project to sign an agreement with the union and to hire their employees through the union hall. PLAs require a non-union contractor/subcontractor to turn their workers over to the union hall, pay union benefits (even if they have benefits under their own individual company), pay five cents per hour per employee to the RI Building and Construction Trades Council for the privilege of obtaining the work, and even run the possibility of having to use union members on the job instead of their own workers. All of these requirements cost additional money to the state tax payers. The Chamber testified in support the programs within Article 24, but opposed the inclusion of the project labor agreement language. The Chamber Coalition also opposed the PLA inclusion.
Senate Bill No. 600, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. Existing law requires anyone who is working as an independent contractor to file a special form with the Department of Labor and Training when he or she begins work with a particular hiring entity and then file a withdrawal form when the affiliation ends. The worker must file a separate form for each hiring entity, but there is no filing fee attached to the registration. S.600, as written, would require every 'independent contractor' to file an annual form with the Department of Revenue declaring the fact that the person is an independent contractor. A filing fee of fifty dollar ($50) is also included. A proposed amendment was unveiled at the hearing, but the $50 requirement was not addressed. Additionally the bill is written so that a person could be required to file a new form – with $50 - for every client – however, this was not the intent of the sponsor. The Chamber opposed S.600.
Below is a list of legislation that was filed this week and that is active this week. The list contains bill numbers, links to the legislation, summary explanations and the Chamber’s position if applicable.
House Bill No. 5116, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - RHODE ISLAND NEW QUALIFIED JOBS INCENTIVE ACT OF 2015 (Creates a financial incentive for business entities to create new jobs by offering a business tax reduction.) The Chamber supports the passage of H.5116.
Senate Bill No. 862, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION-HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDITS 2013 (Repeals the sunset provision of chapter 33.6 of title 44 which grants tax credits to individuals or companies redeveloping historic structures.) The House version is: House Bill No. 6140 These bills are under Chamber review.
House Bill No. 6103, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- BUSINESS CORPORATION TAX (Reduces the minimum corporate tax to four hundred dollars ($400) for the 2016 tax year, three hundred dollars ($300) for the 2017 tax year, and two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for the 2018 tax year.) The Chamber supports H.6103.
House Bill No. 6152, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- WORKERS' COMPENSATION (Amends workers' compensation act by authorizing the delivery of weekly compensation via electronic fund transfers.) This bill is under Chamber review.