HEADLINES : Rhode Island
R.I. budget: House approves new $8.1 billion tax and spending plan
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - After an 11-hour debate that ended at 3:38 a.m. on Friday morning, the House of Representatives approved a proposed new $8.1 billion state budget that extends the state's 7 percent sales tax to a number of currently exempt items, including high-end shoes and clothing, hikes the cigarette tax from $3.46 to $3.50 per pack and opens the door to a new bridge toll .
Along the way, House leaders backed away from a plan to extend the sales tax to car washes as well.
House Finance Committee Chairman Helio Melo, a chief architect of the budget, said leaders were moved by "environmental" concerns voiced by car wash owners and their supporters, who came to the State House for the House debate, carrying signs that said "Save Our Jobs."
Melo said a person who washes a car at home uses "80 percent" more water than if they went to a car wash, which "is designed to use water less."