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The 2013 legislative session needs to be focused around positive, strategic and measureable economic development goals.
That was the message echoing through the State House Tuesday as Chamber President Laurie White joined Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council Executive Director John C. Simmons to unveil a new report aimed at improving Rhode Island’s rankings on business competitiveness.
Entitled “Moving the Needle,” the report reviewed the individual factors that often cause Rhode Island to rank poorly compared to other states, and made recommendations to begin to improve the state’s ranking and overall business climate. The findings will be the basis for major legislative initiatives this session, since the Senate believes the General Assembly’s priority and focus at this time must be on the economy. The report was a joint effort of the Rhode Island Senate and RIPEC.
“This benchmark is a huge development in understanding the factors driving or impedingRhode Island’s growth agenda,” White said. “The report is validation of the true link that exists between the legislative process and our ability to grow the jobs base. It is a monumental step forward in how we evaluate, prioritize and measure economic policy initiatives. We applaud the Senate President for her work on this project and look forward to continued collaboration.”
The report established benchmarks and statistical baselines on current conditions in several areas: the economy, workforce and education, transportation and infrastructure, cost of doing business, and quality of life. The indicators use independent data that has been deemed fundamental to an economically competitive state by national ranking bodies and site selection services. The report calls for an annual review of Rhode Island’s standing on the particular benchmarks to determine progress.
“This report offers substantial recommendations to change how Rhode Island is ranked in national business-competitiveness surveys,” said President Paiva Weed. “The economy is the Senate’s priority, and will be the Senate’s focus this session.”
She continued, “Successfully moving the needle and improving the business climate will require a sustained, cooperative partnership. Just as this report was a partnership between the Senate and RIPEC, our economic development efforts must be a collaborative effort that includes the voices of the Senate, the House, the Governor and his administration, the non-profit sector, academia, and the business community. Working together, we will make Rhode Island more attractive to entrepreneurs, improve our image within our state and outside our borders, and help companies that are here to grow and create jobs.”