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Metro Roundup, March 13

R.I. state colleges experience decline in enrollment

Rhode Island’s public university and colleges have seen a decline in enrollment, according to the New England Board of Higher Education, the Associated Press reported.

University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and Community College of Rhode Island have all seen enrollment decreases. While URI and CCRI observed decreases of less than two percent, RIC saw a decrease of 4.9 percent between Fall 2017 and Fall 2018.

The decline in Rhode Island comes as many public colleges in New England have experienced similar realities.

Following Gov. Gina Raimondo’s initiative to make state institutions tuition-free, in-state students fulfilling GPA requirements can currently attend all three public colleges tuition free for the first two years, The Herald previously reported.

Some flights out of T.F. Green halted after Ethiopian Airlines crash

Norwegian Airlines is grounding its Boeing 737 Max planes, cancelling Tuesday’s flights from the Theodore Frances Green Airport to Dublin, the Providence Journal reported. The decision follows the deadly plane crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight Sunday, which killed all 157 people on board. The plane involved was a Boeing 737 Max, the second of the model to crash in five months. A newer and more fuel efficient version of Boeing’s classic 737, the 737 Max was last evaluated after another crash that killed every passenger on an Indonesian Airline flight in December.  Norwegian Airlines is one of 34 airline companies to sideline its 737 Max fleets until further information addressing the cause of the second crash is made available, according to the New York Times. China and the European Union have also prohibited the model from flying within their airspace. Southwest Airlines, which also uses the 737 Max in flights from Providence to Chicago, will continue using the model. A Southwest spokesperson told The Providence Journal it would work with individual customers who wanted to be moved off flights with the 737 Max, but it will not refund non-refundable tickets.

Rhode Island ranked 8th highest tax rate in U.S.

Rhode Island has some of the highest tax rates in the country, according to a study by WalletHub

The state ranked 8th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for the highest tax rate. Rhode Island’s effective total state and local tax rates on Median U.S. Household add up to 13.21 percent, according to the study.  Rhode Island also has one of the highest cigarette taxes, ranking second highest in the nation behind New York and Connecticut. Cigarettes cost $3.50 per pack and are taxed at 7 percent.

While the state does have state income tax — ranging from 3.75 percent to 5.99 percent, according to the R.I. Department of Revenue — it is one of 35 states without sales tax.

Tax policies have come under scrutiny lately, after Raimondo revealed her 2019 budget and garnered criticism with a February Wall Street Journal editorial.


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