PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council Monday called recently enacted laws to reform the state economic policymaking broadly “successful” in addressing current structural shortcomings.
In the recently completed 2013 legislative session, lawmakers passed bills that, among other things, established a new Executive Office of Commerce, renamed the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, formed an Economic Development Planning Council and created a Council of Economic Advisers.
The changes followed the outlines of recommendations RIPEC made for improving the state’s economic development policy-making structure after the 38 Studios LLC bankruptcy last fall.
In a series of comments on the changes released Monday, RIPEC, a non-partisan, business-backed research organization, said the changes will help coordinate and focus state economic policy.
“Most prominently, the creation of the Executive Office of Commerce, and the Secretary of Commerce position will elevate the importance of commerce in state policy deliberations,” RIPEC wrote.
Specifically, RIPEC said the interactions between the new executive office, the rebranded EDC, the planning council and the council of economic advisors should ensure a “feedback-loop of data is shared and acted upon in policymaking.”
Additionally, RIPEC said the changes will elevate the work of the Office of Regulatory Reform and the creation of the planning and economic-adviser councils will provide a greater diversity of information to policymakers.
“This legislative session has proven that with enough research, focus, and dedication, Rhode Island can begin to make progress on improving the fundamental weaknesses that continue to hold its economy back,” RIPEC wrote. “Though many of the changes put into place in the 2013 legislative session resulted in long-term positive changes, additional efforts will be needed over the next year to continue this momentum of reform and improvement.”