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2/25/2021 Potter cosponsors bill to raise revenue through new tax bracket for richest 1 percent
STATE HOUSE – Legislation cosponsored by Rep. Brandon C. Potter would add a new tax bracket for the richest 1 percent of Rhode Islanders as an equitable means to generate much-needed state revenue.

The legislation (2021-H 5227) adds one new tax bracket — at a marginal rate of 8.99 percent (in place of the current top rate of 5.99 percent) on income above $475,000, ensuring the top 1 percent of earners are contributing their fair share.

The change would raise an estimated $128.2 million for education, state aid to cities and towns and safety net programs that are even more critical this year as Rhode Island recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Particularly at a time when many, many Rhode Islanders are struggling even more as a result the economic effects of a pandemic that is about to stretch past the year mark, we need to stop looking at cuts to vital programs as our only means to close our budget gaps. Our systems have helped the rich get richer. Asking them to pay their fair share at such a critical time is reasonable, and a much better alternative to deepening cuts to the safety net programs that are vitally needed by so many right now,” said Representative Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston).

The legislation, whose primary sponsor is Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket), would cost 99 percent of Rhode Islanders nothing. Those making more than $475,000 would pay 8.99 percent on only the portion of their income above $475,000. For someone making $500,000 a year, it would mean an additional $750 in state taxes.

The plan would be more equitable because the poorest Rhode Islanders pay more in total taxes —  income, property, sales and excise — than the rich. The lowest earning 20 percent of Rhode Islanders — those earning less than $21,700 — pay 12.1 percent of their income in taxes. The top 1 percent pay a total of 7.9 percent. The proposed bill would raise their share to 9.3 percent.

According to the Economic Progress Institute, which supports the bill, the bill would not hurt small business. Most business owners in the state — between 93 and 96 percent — do not have taxable income within the new bracket and would not be affected. The median income for self-employed Rhode Islanders is $53,794.

A broad coalition called Revenue for Rhode Island has formed in support of the legislation. The coalition includes leaders across labor, faith and community advocacy groups. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923