HELPING HAND: Fung is looking to cut the corporate minimum tax from $500 to $50 in his first four years in office, a move he said would help small businesses.
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
CUTTING BACK? To pay for his economic proposals, Fung would seek spending cuts, including a 5 percent reduction in the state workforce his first year in office.
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
READY TO LEAD: Elected Cranston’s mayor in 2008, Allan Fung is setting his sights on becoming Rhode Island’s highest-ranking official. First, he will have to square off against fellow Republican Ken Block in a primary election next month.
(Editor’s note: This is the fifth and final installment in a series of articles focused on 2014 gubernatorial candidates and their plans for economic development.)
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is going all in on tax cuts as a Republican gubernatorial candidate. Not content to simply match the $100 million tax-cut plan of his GOP primary opponent Ken Block, Fung is going bigger, and more conservative, with a $200 million package of cuts meant to stimulate the economy.
In fact, Fung’s plan over the long term, if he could get it through the legislature, would actually cut taxes much more than the $200 million fiscal 2016 estimate, as he calls for most taxes to continue falling over the following four years he would be in office.
“My tax-reduction plan is the most comprehensive of all of the candidates for governor,” Fung told Providence Business News in a recent interview. “This will get us down, from a tax-policy standpoint, to the most tax-friendly state in the region.”
Before the General Assembly reduced the state’s corporate tax rate from 9 percent to 7 percent this summer, Fung had been proposing a cut to 6.5 percent, already half a percentage point below Block.
But once state lawmakers passed their cut, Fung ratcheted his corporate-tax-cut proposal down even further, to 5 percent.
For both Republicans, economic growth is synonymous with cutting taxes and they agree on many of the elements of creating a more frugal state government.
But unlike their Democratic counterparts – Clay Pell, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo – who often refuse to identify a policy difference between them, even when they agree on principal, Block and Fung are quick to highlight their differences.
These include unemployment insurance, where Fung opposes Block’s plan to crack down on repetitive use of unemployment benefits by seasonal employees in excess of what their employer pays in taxes.
Block argues these annual collections cut against the intent of unemployment insurance, allowing seasonal employers to use the system as compensation at the expense of nonseasonal companies.