• Business Advocacy

  • Through coordinated advocacy efforts, the GPCC is working to make Rhode Island a better place to live, work and conduct business.

    Our policy team serves as a liaison between membership and elected officials to ensure the business perspective is represented at local, state and federal levels.

     This can be difficult work, but be assured that the GPCC has your back.

     

    2018 Legislative Session a Win for Business

    In 2018, the General Assembly was very focused on several marquee issues including the school construction bond, gender pay equity and the PawSox stadium proposal.

     

    The GPCC supported the following legislative initiatives.

     

    Education and Workforce Development

    Investments in education and workforce training are vital to ensuring that employers have access to the talent they need in Rhode Island and that residents have greater employment opportunities.

    • In 2018, the GPCC advocated for the issuance of $250 million in school construction bonds over the next five years. The bonding proposal will be used to incentivize school construction by increasing state aid for school improvement projects across all K-12 school districts.
       
    • We supported $70 million in higher education bonds to improve the state’s capacity to educate and train students for in-demand careers.

     

    What's it mean to you? The GPCC is working to improve the talent pipeline for employers in a wide range fields to help businesses thrive in the state.  

    Rhode Island students will have warm, dry and safe school buildings within which to learn and reach their potential.

    Also, investment in higher education means that Rhode Island will continue to have some of the best public colleges and universities in the country.

     

    Competitive Tax Code

    A fair and equitable tax system promotes private sector growth and makes Rhode Island more competitive.

    • The 2014 corporate tax reforms were not challenged in any meaningful way during the 2018 legislative session.
    • The personal income tax reforms were not challenged in any meaningful way during the 2018 legislative session.

     

    What does this mean for you? Corporate and personal taxes will not be going up.

     

    Economic Development

    The GPCC supports policies that build on our state's economic advantages, spur new business growth, encourage expansion of existing businesses, create jobs and attract private investment.

    • The GPCC supported the Governor’s Economic Development plan as presented in the FY 2019 Budget. The FY 2019 Budget, as enacted by the General Assembly, reinstated all existing economic development initiatives.

     

    What does this mean for you? Business will continue to have access to various financing and incentive programs to help them grow.

     

    PawSox Stadium

    • The GPCC supported the proposal to build a new stadium for the Pawsox at Slater Mill in Pawtucket.
    • This enabling legislation was enacted.

     

    What does this mean to you? A new ballpark for the PawSox will accomplish three vital things:

    1) ensure that in fast-changing times, one of the most uniquely Rhode Island institutions remains a part of our community fabric;

    2) provide an unprecedented economic development opportunity for Pawtucket’s downtown and riverfront; and

    3) contribute new tax revenues to the state and prevent the loss of current revenues being generated at McCoy stadium if the team is forced to move out of Rhode Island.

     

    The GPCC also fought against numerous anti-business initiatives introduced this session, which continue to be a serious threat to Rhode Island’s business competitiveness.

     

    Employment Mandates

    A critical piece of strengthening Rhode Island’s economy is reducing the burden on businesses. The GPCC successfully opposed multiple employer mandates, which would have created onerous regulatory and financial requirements for businesses.

    • Gender Pay Equity​
      • Ensuring pay equity is crucial for organizations to function successfully. The GPCC supports equal pay for equal work.
      • However, the language in Senate Bill S-2475 was of concern to the business community.
      • The legislation would have required equal pay for “comparable work”, which would be determined after examining a composite of nebulous, subjective factors. 
      • As drafted, the legitimate issue of gender pay equity got twisted on its head to make it a vehicle for frivolous lawsuits without sufficient protections for businesses, especially small businesses.
      • Gender pay equity legislation was not enacted.
    • Minimum Wage
      • Various bills were introduced to increase the minimum wage to varying dollar amounts, the maximum proposal being $15 per hour.
      • New minimum wage legislation was not enacted.
    • Temporary Caregiver Insurance Expansion
      • Legislation would have expanded the temporary caregiver insurance program to allow employees to take leave to care for siblings and grandchildren. 
      • The legislation did not pass.
    • Workplace Bullying
      • Legislation would have created a right for any employee to file a lawsuit for any conduct in the workplace by either the employer or another employee that causes an employee “pain or distress.”
      • The legislation was not enacted.

     

    What does the defeat of these proposals mean for you? The cost of doing business will not go up as a result of these bills, and your business will not have to divert time and resources to deal with additional regulations.

     

    Related articles

    Editorial: Weighing Need for Jobs

    Laurie White: Better Ways to Promote Pay Equity

    Laurie White: Fixing Schools Benefits RI Economy

     

  • We believe that a vibrant, pro-business economic environment is the path to prosperity for all Rhode Islanders. Join us in supporting our activism.

    The Providence Chamber Political Action Committee is dedicated to supporting General Assembly candidates running in primary and general election races who align with our interests. Protect businesses and the jobs they produce by providing the financial support necessary to help our allies win.

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