THE R.I. COMMERCE CORPORATION has released an economic 'action plan' to nurse the state back to health. The document puts an emphasis on highlighting Rhode Island's economic assets and better serving the business community.
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Commerce Corporation released an action report earlier this week outlining specific economic development initiatives designed to improve Rhode Island’s business climate, create jobs and lower unemployment.
The report, “Actions for Economic Development in Rhode Island,” advocated building on Rhode Island’s native economic advantages to improve the state’s business climate, advance support for innovation, take advantage of the manufacturing renaissance and “maker” movement, bridge the gap between education and the private sector, and promote Rhode Island’s food and tourism industries.
Specific actions recommended in the report included:
Lowering the state sales tax and corporate tax.
Accelerating the ongoing regulatory reform process.
Creating a permanent funding mechanism for maintaining the state’s roads and bridges.
Developing a public/private “Fund for Rhode Island’s Future” to invest in high-growth companies.
Forming a Maker’s Guild to harness the maker movement in Providence.
Financing a R.I. Commerce Corporation business park.
Creating a Center for Design and Manufacturing.
Building up engagement between universities and businesses using the University of Rhode Island’s Business Engagement Center as a model.
Developing programs to support STEAM education in colleges and universities.
Working with the state’s EB5 center to attract foreign direct investment.
Developing a state brand around Rhode Island’s local food industry and marine economy.
“This economic development plan focuses on not just great ideas, but real strategic actions that will allow Rhode Island to establish a churning economy to fuel ongoing growth into the next decade,” said Marcel A. Valois, executive director of the R.I. Commerce Corporation, in a release accompanying the report.
Ultimately, he said, the action plan aims to provide a framework under which Rhode Island can create 30,000 new jobs by 2019, lower unemployment below 5 percent and establish a system for continued strategic economic growth planning.
The report will be used to support the R.I. Division of Planning’s ongoing “RhodeMap RI” initiative to identify intersections between the state’s environmental, economic and social resources, and determine where and how future development should happen.