STATE HOUSE – Rep. Doreen M. Costa (R-Dist.31, Exeter, North Kingstown) has introduced legislation to solve the current funding shortfall that threatens the future of the WaterFire, which Rhode Islanders have enjoyed since 1994. WaterFire currently relies on donations from the public and although it has a small staff, the operation is heavily reliant on volunteers. Unfortunately, WaterFire Providence has incurred annual operating deficits for the past two years and is in dire need of an infusion of capital if it is to continue in operation.
Representative Costa’s proposal is to include on all Rhode Island state tax forms an option for filers to “check the box” indicating their desire to donate a specified dollar amount to a fund dedicated solely to the operation of WaterFire. These contributions would be optional and no fee of any kind would be imposed on any tax payer without their express consent.
“While WaterFire clearly benefits the Providence community, there is an indirect benefit to the surrounding communities that reverberates throughout the state,” said Representative Costa. “My proposal has the potential to permanently solve this funding problem and protect this economic and cultural resource. Our aim is to raise $1 million each year and to ensure that WaterFire is here to stay.”
Representative Costa has consulted with Barnaby Evans, creator of WaterFire, Angel Taveras, Mayor of Providence, and other members of the General Assembly and expects bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and Senate.
This legislation (2012-H7107) has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
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