By PBN Staff
(Updated, 1 p.m.)
PROVIDENCE – Hundreds of businesses across Rhode Island have been told to either pay the state sales tax revenue or close their doors, The Associated Press reported today.
Roughly 1,200 firms will be forced to shut down unless they pay the overdue sales tax immediately, the AP said. The move was first reported by The Providence Journal.
The R.I. Division of Taxation has hand-delivered hundreds of letters informing businesses that they have been operating without a permit since June 30 because of their failure to pay sales tax revenue, according to the AP. State officials say they believe the businesses are withholding sales tax revenue from the state.
Bill Vernon, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Rhode Island, issued a statement this afternoon calling on state officials to halt the closings.
“With one of the highest state unemployment rates in the country, it is beyond stunning that Rhode Island officials would march down Main Street shutting down 1,200 businesses, leaving proprietors and thousands of workers on the street without a paycheck,” Vernon said. “ To say this couldn’t come at a worse time would be the understatement of the year.”
Vernon also said “it appears that state officials also made numerous mistakes in their recent campaign to padlock private businesses.”