Chafee Benefits from Tax Breaks on RI Properties

Stephen Beale
GoLocalProv
11/1/2010

With 11 motor vehicles registered in Exeter, a homestead exemption in Providence, and a declaration of residency in Warwick, Lincoln Chafee has a complex web of homes and properties in Rhode Island.

This complex web of ownership brings a series of financial and political benefits to the Chafees. Their motor vehicle registrations at the couple’s Exeter farm allow them to benefit from a lower car tax rate. Their homestead exemption in Providence cuts the property taxes on his 54 Barnes Street home by as much as half and Chafee’s residency in Warwick has allowed him to mount his campaign for governor from a political base of support. (Click here to view the documents.)

“I don’t think it’s appropriate. I think you have to pay taxes in the town you live in, where you are registered to vote, because that’s your primary residence,” said Marie Sorman, president of Operation Clean Government. “There just seems to be something wrong with someone with that much wealth doing everything they can to dodge taxes while the rest of us are struggling.”…

…In 2009, Chafee and his wife had 11 motor vehicles registered in Exeter, where they have a 916.8-acre farm worth $1.6 million according to Exeter town assessment records.

Amongst the cars registered in Exeter are a 1997 Audi and three Toyota Priuses. The Chafees do not currently have any cars registered in Providence and Lincoln Chafee has a trailer with an assessed value of $500 registered at his 22 Beachwood Drive home in Warwick. Each of these numbers is according to the respective assessor’s departments in those communities. The current car tax rate in Exeter is $32.59 per $1,000 in value, compared to $76.78 in Providence and $34.60 in Warwick.

Thanks to the lower tax rate, the Chafees—who had a last reported net worth of as much as $47.8 million—were billed $2,786.46 in car taxes to Exeter in 2009, compared to as much as $6,564.69 in Providence, a savings of just under $4,000. For most taxpayers, motor vehicles are registered at a person’s primary residence, but an exclusion in state law allows individuals to register motor vehicles at a separate location if they are “customarily kept there.”…

Read the entire article at GoLocalProv

At the same site Chafee’s Properties: View the Documents

H/T Rhode Island 9/12 Project

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