Bringing Back the Homestead

Bringing Back the Homestead

The City Council Leadership Team Announces Tax Levy to Benefit All Residents

In April of this year, Mayor Elorza presented to the City and the Council his 2020 budget which included a $15 Million increase from the last fiscal year. In his proposal and budget address, the Mayor failed to mention the severity of his tax levy increase and how it disproportionately burdens the City’s most vulnerable residents. Under his proposal, the City’s lowest-valued homes would see tax bills jump upwards of 20% while the City’s most valuable homes would see decreases in their tax bills.

As a Council, we find it unsettling to request a budget increase of $15 Million by asking our hardworking taxpayers to pay more. That’s why today, the City Council leadership team, introduced a tax levy proposal which includes a homestead exemption that more equitably distributes the burden of the costs of running our City across all of our residents.

“The plan that we are proposing would give a 40% exemption for the first $350K assessed value for homeowners, and then a 28% exemption on the assessed value after that,” stated Council President Sabina Matos. “This plan provides much-needed relief for those individuals who are on fixed incomes or are single parents and just trying to make ends meet. I think of people I know in our community, which with the revaluation saw massive increases in their assessed values. This plan would help mitigate that huge tax burden, and provide much-needed assistance to all residents in every neighborhood across Providence.”

Currently, our City is facing serious financial challenges like an unfunded billion dollar pension liability, skyrocketing infrastructure needs, and while the Council acknowledges these expenditures to be essential, we don’ t think they should be collected on the backs of our most vulnerable residents. We have been working through the budgeting process and feel that this plan helps to mitigate the imbalances in the Mayor’s proposal.

Chairman of the Committee on Finance, John J. Igliozzi stated, “There is not an endless source of money to keep our city running, and as one of the only cites in the state of Rhode Island that does not have a homestead exemption, it only makes sense that we explore this route.

As we move forward through this budgeting process, the Council hopes that we can come to an agreement with the Mayor and his administration that is equitable and fair for everyone.

Tax Graphic

Bringing Back the Homestead

Council President Pro Tempore Correia and Senior Deputy Majority Leader Narducci Host Luncheon for DPW Workers

In honor of the National Public Works Week Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia, Chairman of the Committee on Public Works and his colleague Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas Narducci Jr. hosted a luncheon in appreciation for the hard work of the men and women of the Providence Department of Public Works.

Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan: Providence Needs to Move Forward

Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan: Providence Needs to Move Forward

When a majority of the City Council came together to vote “Yes” for a zoning change that would allow a new $300-million development to go forward in our city, generating an estimated $4 million in annual tax revenues, it was an important sign that we understood the need to move Providence forward.

For too long, the city has been seen as fostering an anti-development culture. Instead of looking at economic development opportunities as a chance to get things done and generate vital revenue for Providence, some city officials appear to be more interested in imposing unreasonable demands on those who are willing to invest in the city. The fact is, we should be welcoming those who see promise in Providence and are willing to spend money to do business here.

It’s no secret that our city faces significant challenges, among them staggering pension liabilities that threaten to plunge us into possible bankruptcy. Many of the city’s schools are struggling and we received word this week that Rhode Island’s schools as a whole are underperforming, with a Dec. 2 Providence Journal editorial noting that “Rhode Island’s public education system is woefully bad” and that the situation “presents a direct threat to the state’s chances of rebuilding its economy.”

The disturbing results of the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment raised a serious alarm. We are lagging behind Massachusetts, because our neighbors to the north made a commitment to improving their schools as part of a broad approach to economic development and job growth. We can do the same, but the only way to get on the road to making that kind of meaningful, sustained commitment is to take advantage of significant opportunities when they present themselves. That is how we get on a path to making things better.

In this environment, rejecting a proposal like the Hope Point Tower is not just reckless and irresponsible — it does a disservice to our taxpayers. It ignores the need to get things moving in our city, to show some signs of progress with the I-195 redevelopment zone, an area that was created for the expressed purpose of generating new development and jobs. But it isn’t just about reshaping our city’s skyline … it’s about sending a message that Providence is serious about getting its economy on track and taking the bold action necessary to revitalize our city.

The Providence Journal implored Mayor Jorge Elorza not to stand in the way of this project. The speaker of the House and Senate president rightly called on him to act and reminded him that this was a chance to change the perception that the city was “mired in the same bureaucratic delays and barriers that have held it back in the past.” And the City Council gave him the chance to green-light this vital project and create a new sense of energy in Providence.

Unfortunately, the mayor missed an opportunity to lead. I hope my colleagues on the City Council will come together to recognize that our city deserves better. We need to take action now to change the culture and show that Providence can effectively promote and support economic development. We can do it as part of a comprehensive approach to building a strong community where businesses and individuals work in concert to help rebuild our schools, create affordable housing opportunities and make this a vibrant city that is a destination for those seeking a strong quality of life.

It starts with vision, the ability to see that a zoning change can represent a change in attitude, a shift in perspective, and a willingness to do things differently. By letting the Hope Point Tower go forward, we can finally begin to make good on the promise of the I-195 redevelopment zone, approving a signature project that will spark further development, while creating desperately-needed jobs and generating essential tax revenue.

*Originally published by The Providence Journal on December 4, 2018

Statement on Hope Point Tower from Councilman Terrence M. Hassett

Statement on Hope Point Tower from Councilman Terrence M. Hassett

I am encouraged by the support shown for the Hope Point Tower project by my colleagues in the Rhode Island General Assembly, most notably Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio and Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello. I also believe that Mayor Jorge O. Elorza has been thoughtful in regards to this project and am hopeful that he will work with the developer, Jason Fane, to resolve any differences.

The Hope Point Tower represents a $300 million private investment in our City at a time when we face serious financial challenges from our pension liability and aging infrastructure. In addition to that private investment, the development will generate an estimated $4 million in tax revenue annually and will create 1,500 high-wage earning construction jobs over the next three years. This investment increases our tax base, and the economic impact of this project will be felt in all sectors of Providence.

By moving this project forward, Providence is poised to embark on one of the largest economic development plans since Providence Place Mall and the Renaissance Hotel. Like Hope Point Tower, these projects also faced criticism, and many said they could not be done. But with collaboration between the developers, city planners, and the City Council we were able to bring these projects to fruition and they are now part of the very fabric that makes our City unique and vibrant.

Over my 21-year career on the City Council, I am most proud of projects like the Hope Point Tower. Creating jobs, revitalizing neighborhoods, and making the City I love a great place to live and visit is a remarkable gift.  During this time of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity to have served, and I look forward to seeing Providence continue to grow.

—Terrence M. Hassett, Senior Deputy Majority Leader, Councilman Ward 12

Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune Selected as One of Nation’s Top Pro-Growth Progressive Leaders

Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune Selected as One of Nation’s Top Pro-Growth Progressive Leaders

LaFortune joins group of the most innovative Democratic state and local officials

Today, Providence City Councilmember Nirva LaFortune was selected as one of eleven leaders from nine states across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of innovative state and local leaders led by Honorary Co-Chairs U.S. Senator Mark Warner and former Governor Jack Markell. Members of the 150-plus-person network, who are working to enact pro-growth progressive solutions in a diverse array of communities, have been chosen from among more than 1000 nominations over its seven-year history.

LaFortune and her peers in the new class of leaders (listed below) were recognized for their unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity, as they work to move their communities forward in the new economy and reject the idea that policymakers can or should want to turn the clock back to a prior era. These leaders’ work will help build on policy agendas NewDEAL develops for state and local officials, including the upcoming release of recommendations from the organization’s Future of Work Policy Group, as well asThe Way Forward, an agenda that addresses the most pressing issues facing Americans in the digital age.

“While much of the political world is focused on how the balance of power in D.C. will shift in a couple of weeks, we must also remember the tremendous impact that innovative state and local officials have on enacting policies that meet the demands of a changing world and expand opportunity for all,” said Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Honorary Co-Chairs of NewDEAL. “Supporting the rising leaders in the NewDEAL has never been more important. We look forward to promoting Nirva’s work and giving her the opportunity to learn from other leaders as she joins a network with a proven track record of winning and governing successfully in diverse communities.”

NewDEAL Leaders have found broad support for their work, with 98 percent of members winning elections in 2016 and 2017, across red, blue, and purple states, including eight elected to higher office. Four members were elevated to statewide office, including in the swing states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina. More than 25 leaders have run for higher office in 2018, including for Governor (such as Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia) and Congress (such as Paul Davis in Kansas, Ben McAdams in Utah, Greg Stanton in Arizona, Clarke Tucker in Arkansas, and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia).

“As we continue to fight for better jobs, access to quality education, and economic security for the people of Providence, I look forward to sharing the lessons we have learned and hearing from other leaders who are setting the standard for effective governance,” said LaFortune. “I am very excited to be a part of this new class and to work with my cohorts in furthering NewDEAL’s efforts to expand opportunity in communities nationwide.”

Since being elected in 2017, LaFortune has dedicated herself to expanding education and economic opportunity and creating a safer, more equitable Providence. The Councilmember is a strong advocate for common sense gun legislation, more transparency in local government, education and housing equity. LaFortune has established herself as a leader on education issues, serving as Vice Chair of the Providence City Council’s Special Committee on Education, and on a committee advising the RI Department of Education on implementing the Every Student Succeed Act, the federal law that governs our nation’s public school system. As an advocate for common sense legislation, LaFortune recently introduced a resolution urging the Rhode Island General Assembly to pass legislation requiring registration of all firearms.

About NewDEAL

The NewDEAL brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable. Most importantly, the organization facilitates the exchange of ideas among its members and connects them with other pro-growth progressive political, policy, and private sector leaders.
One of the organization’s signature events, the Annual NewDEAL Leaders Conference, will take place November 28-30 in Washington, DC, where about 70 NewDEAL Leaders will join other innovators from the public and private sectors to address lessons learned from the midterm elections and to discuss a forward-looking agenda for state and local Democrats to address the future of work and climate change, and rebuild trust in government.

Today’s announcement brings the total number of NewDEAL members – statewide officials, legislators, mayors, councilmembers, and other local leaders – to 166 leaders from 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Learn more about Councilmember LaFortune and the NewDEAL at

The new class of NewDEAL Leaders includes:

Chaz Beasley, State Representative, Charlotte, NC
Wesley Bishop, State Senator, New Orleans, LA
John Cranley, Mayor, Cincinnati, OH
Justin Fairfax, Lieutenant Governor, Virginia
Amir Farokhi, City Councilmember, Atlanta, GA
Margaret Good, State Representative, Sarasota, FL
Derek S. Green, City Councilmember, Philadelphia, PA
Nirva LaFortune, City Councilmember, Providence, RI
Daniele Monroe-Moreno, State Representative, Las Vegas, NV
Laura Register, School Board Member, Cairo, GA
Kathy Tran, State Delegate, West Springfield, VA

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