Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza on Thursday signed into law a standardized tax break approach meant to encourage development on the former I-195 land and in city neighborhoods. A more predictable process for tax treaties has been described for years as a key need.
Construction costs are similar between Boston and Providence, but taxes are higher here and rents are lower. Because of that, public officials say tax incentives are needed to catalyze new development.
A City Council report last year recommended replacing Providence's case-by-case with a predictable, standardized approach.
The capital city’s response includes a system to gradually phase in taxes for I-195 District projects over $10 million and $50 million. There’s a similar plan for smaller projects in other city neighborhoods.
Elorza was joined by a host of city and state officials while signing the new tax-stabilization plan in his office at City Hall. The show of unity followed delays in developing the approach after Elorza took office in January, and a since-aborted effort by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio to move forward his own initiative.
Elorza calls the I-195 land a once-in-a-generation chance for Providence and the state. The mayor says the new tax-incentive plan creates an opportunity for those looking to invest in Rhode Island, and he predicts it will jump-start development.