Providence Mayor Freezes Commercial Taxes in New Economic Plan

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Say what you will about Rhode Island politics and its politicians, but Providence Mayor, Angel Taveras, is working hard. Not only has he won Bloomberg Philanthropies grand prize of $5,000 in a nationwide Mayors Challenge, but he is also developing a new economic plan to revamp the city.

On Wednesday during a special trustee meeting of the Providence Foundation,  Taveras unveiled a new plan titled: “Putting Providence Back to Work“–a 20 step plan focusing on 5 key initiatives.

One of those initiatives that stands out, particularly to those in commercial investments, is a proposal for City Council to pass a 7-year freeze on commercial tax rates. Yes, this day has come. It’s here…well, almost.

The purpose of freezing commercial tax rates is to create an incentive for developers to build on surface parking lots. According to an article by Projo, Taveras said that the commercial tax rate is “higher than in most Rhode Island cities and nearly twice the national average”.  He also stated that the administration is also pushing towards fixing the permitting process by moving it all online by this summer.

Taveras’ new plan also highlights the removal of barriers to redevelopment, as well as encouraging new development in the downtown area, particularly Kennedy Plaza. “Just as bold actions were necessary in 2011 to weather the ‘Category 5 fiscal hurricane’ and put Providence on the path to long-term financial sustainability, equally bold actions are now required to put Providence back to work and lay the groundwork for a sustained, statewide recovery,” the proposal states.