Rhode Island’s subsidy programs are modest in fiscal costs, but the state has one unusual program administered by the privatized Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. The Jobs Development Act, which lowers a company’s corporate income tax rate, resulted in $20 million in lost revenue for the state in 2020. Other less costly programs include a film incentive administered by the Film and TV Office and tax credits for training and manufacturing investment administered by the Department of Labor and Training.
The Department of Revenue publishes annual reports on tax credits listing the recipients, project addresses, and awarded amounts. Recipients of the film tax credit can also be found on the website of the Film and TV Office. The commerce corporation’s website has descriptions of projects subsidized through tax increment financing.
In a blow to transparency, Rhode Island dropped its annual tax expenditure reports in 2015 and kept producing only the much more minimal Tax Credit and Incentive Reports. The Department of Administration prepares the Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports (ACFRs) that have the costs of tax abatement programs, including those for education and historic preservation. Rhode Island’s municipalities generally report tax abatements in accordance with Statement No. 77, but local school districts do not report finances independently. Rhode Island has no counties.
Following the collapse of a giant loan guarantee to a video game company that went bankrupt, a law was passed in 2013 to make the Office of Revenue Analysis evaluate tax incentives on a three-year rotating cycle, though not loans or loan guarantees.