The Fourth of July is around the corner and many states are debating whether or not they should cut the expensive tradition of fireworks displays. With budgets shrinking, some states believe that opting out of displays will allow for an allocation of funds to needed areas.
One state is taking a very different approach towards this problem. Rhode Island sees a money-making opportunity in citizens’ fascination with explosive festivities.
Rhode Island to Capitalize on Holiday
On June 14, the small Northeastern state decided to pass a law legalizing small fireworks for individual use. Although this might seem like purely a patriotic move on Rhode Island’s part, the state might have had ulterior motives. It was reported that the states sales of fireworks could reach into the millions of dollars this year. With its 7% sales tax, Rhode Island saw this as a perfect opportunity to boost state income. For every $1 million in fireworks sales, Rhode Island will bring in $70,000 of tax revenue.
The new law allows people to purchase small, ground-based fireworks. Rockets or anything else that explodes would be forbidden. To find out what the firework law is in your state check out this website.
Fireworks sales increased by $330 million in the years between 2000 and 2008, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. In 2008, Americans spent a total of $213.2 million on fireworks, and this number is expected to increase in 2010. Given Rhode Island’s population (1.053 million) compared to that of the entire nation, the state could sell more than $7 million worth of fireworks and generate approximately $500,000 in tax revenue.