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Fung Releases Small Business Plan; Raimondo Vows To Protect Affordable Care Act

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Republican gubernational candidate Allan Fung released a small business plan Wednesday that proposes to eliminate the minimum tax for unprofitable businesses, reduce the inheritance tax for family businesses, and seek more federal funds to aid entrepreneurs.

Fung released the plan at a Cranston barber shop.

"These guiding principles will help our state’s small businesses thrive and grow in Rhode Island,” Fung said in a statement. “Gone will be the days of providing taxpayer subsidies to a few select Fortune 500 companies while forgetting about the heart and soul of our state's economy. We should concentrate our efforts on small businesses, and leverage dollars to ensure that they have the access to capital that they need to be successful."

Fung's plan also calls for "stopping the practice of harassing audits," creating a 10-year statute on the state's ability to collect back taxes, and reducing the 18 percent interest rate on back taxes to make it more competitive with other states. He also repeated a vow to make occupational licensing, business permitting and business incorporation fees the lowest in New England.

A news release sent by Fung's campaign did not specify how much his small business proposals will cost and how he would pay for them.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, has credited her economic approach with lowering unemployment in the state and helping to create thousands of more jobs.

Raimondo was set to sign an executive order Wednesday afternoon showing her support for the Affordable Care Act, and her campaign faulted Fung for not speaking out on that issue.

“Thanks in large part to Governor Raimondo’s leadership, the Affordable Care Act is working in Rhode Island," Mike Raia, an advisor to the governor's campaign, said in a statement. "We have near universal health coverage and the lowest ACA premiums in America. Allan Fung’s strong support for Donald Trump will put all of that at risk, and hardworking Rhode Islanders could get hurt. Thousands of Cranston residents count on the ACA for health coverage, but when their access to care was on the line last year, Mayor Fung refused to stand up and do take any action to protect them."

Fung and Raimondo are set to square off at 7 pm Thursday in their first televised debate, on WPRI-TV, with independent candidate Joe Trillo. Three other candidates are also running for governor: Moderate Party candidate William Gilbert, Compassion Party candidate Anne Armstrong, and independent Luis Daniel Munoz.