• Business Advocacy

  • 2024 Legislative Principles


    We believe that a vibrant, pro-business economic environment is the path to
    prosperity for all Rhode Islanders in every neighborhood from every community.


    The Chamber's focus is to help create jobs so people can find satisfying work, provide for their families and give back to the community. We are committed to efforts that advance diversity, equity and inclusion and promote prosperity for all. 


    Our vision is to establish Rhode Island as a national leader for private sector job growth and a premier state in which to live, work, raise a family and retire.


    Nurture an Inviting Business Climate

    A critical piece of strengthening Rhode Island’s economy is reducing the burden on businesses, at both the state and municipal levels. With costs rising such as health care, energy, housing, taxes and wages, we need certainty and efficiency in Rhode Island’s business climate to encourage businesses to grow, create jobs, and relocate in Rhode Island.

    Drive Consistency and Simplicity for Job Creation

    We will continue to monitor and oppose any legislative actions related to employment mandates that would make Rhode Island an outlier relative to other states’ labor and employment laws or create state law that is redundant with Federal law and support legislation which would preempt municipal workplace mandates and create uniformity on employment law in Rhode Island. In addition, any new regulations in such areas as data privacy and AI should be clear and targeted to minimize confusion and costs as well as the potential for unanticipated consequences.

    Support a Competitive Tax Code

    A fair, equitable and predictable tax system promotes private sector growth and makes Rhode Island more competitive. We believe that people should keep more of what they earn and oppose any broad-based tax increases on corporations, individuals or industry-specific taxes. We appreciate recent work to reduce and eliminate taxes that make the state an outlier to its regional peers and believe that the most onerous taxes that discourage business investment and expansion should be reduced or eliminated in any reform efforts. As neighboring states increase personal tax rates, we have a unique opportunity to attract and retain both new and growing businesses especially from border communities so not only can we attract new capital but can keep Rhode Islanders from leaving as well.

    Steward Government Funds Prudently

    With the reduction from historic levels of federal spending, public officials should continue to use a long-term, investor mind set when determining spending and should weigh which initiatives have the greatest promise for impact without adding ongoing, legacy costs to the state budget. This includes prioritized funding for key infrastructure and transportation projects and providing tools for increasing housing. Our state's businesses count on a reliable transportation infrastructure and we should aim to prioritize investments and public policies that improve our road, rail, bus, and other multi-modal transit networks while connecting our state's economic hubs with other markets in the northeast and beyond. In addition, we support the development and use of tools that can increase housing, especially workforce housing. All funding should be distributed with maximum transparency and accountability. Increasing funding for both the unemployment insurance fund and the state’s rainy-day fund should be a priority in preparation for any future economic uncertainty.

    Invest in our Children

    The Chamber continues to support investments and innovation in elementary & secondary education and childcare, a long-term commitment to education reforms and work-based learning opportunities to prepare all our young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, for not only careers but fulfilling futures. From pre-k through college, our students need accessible, equitable and high-quality educational experiences to fully prepare them for productive lives and good citizenship. This includes providing them with safe, healthy schools and vibrant environments that facilitate the development of 21st century skills and strengthening our communities to allow our young people to reach their full potential. We believe that the business community can serve as a change agent, continually challenging ourselves and demanding of the Governor, the General Assembly, city or town councils, school boards, RIDE, and local school districts that they collectively work to set high expectations and provide a world class public education for all of our children.

    Create a Sustainable Future

    We support industry-led efforts to move to a greener economy including establishing aspirational sustainability goals and promoting greater environmental responsibility and efficient use of natural resources. As “The Ocean State”, we support leveraging our unique, natural advantages to create a dynamic blue economy and position the state for significant growth opportunities spanning multiple industry sectors ranging from aquaculture and defense to ocean engineering and offshore energy. We support efforts to modernize Rhode Island's transportation network to ensure that it can withstand the impacts of climate change. These efforts will add resiliency to both our environment and our economy. We support legislation that expands climate protections without creating a burden for compliant businesses and incentivizing sustainability programs for business adoption. We support clean energy transformation while strengthening grid resiliency and ensuring our vital energy systems meet the needs of local industry in a safe, reliable, and affordable manner. 

    Prepare and Train our Workforce

    Attracting, retaining and developing great talent is a shared priority for businesses large and small. As such, increased investments in higher education are essential for Rhode Island to be competitive and support the state’s overall workforce needs. The Chamber supports initiatives and appropriate funding aimed at achieving Rhode Island’s goal of 70% of working-age adults obtaining a postsecondary credential by 2025 including continuing education for nontraditional adult age students as well as preparing traditional students for careers of the future. Our workforce should reflect the diversity of our state and we believe that everyone should have opportunities to maximize their personal potential to become full stakeholders in the success of our state.

    Drive Economic Development with Public Private Partnerships

    Maintaining economic development incentives is vital to ensuring that Rhode Island remains competitive with other states in attracting and retaining businesses in our state. This includes support for minority-owned businesses and incentives to both locate and expand in the state as well as access to capital for start-up and small businesses. We support the extension of the sunset provisions of existing Commerce Corporation economic development incentives.

    Support a Vibrant Knowledge Economy and Rhode Island's Innovation Ecosystem 

    The state’s universities and colleges are a critical resource for building a strong and vibrant innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem that benefits all Rhode Islanders. Institutions of higher education are critical for attracting and retaining new talent and new industries, while developing both start-ups and existing businesses. From access to education to important research collaborations, and from support of K-12 programing throughout the state to the generation of new technologies, programs, and a thriving workforce, our colleges and universities are essential to driving robust economic growth and activity in Rhode Island.

    Nurture A Vibrant Capital City

    As home to the Chamber and many of our members, we have a special concern with the condition of our capital city from the quality of its schools and maintaining the highest levels of public safety to ensuring that the creativity and innovation for which the Creative Capital is known can thrive for businesses and residents. We support initiatives that make it easier to open and operate a business in a cost-effective way and provide streamlined services for maximum efficiency and convenience.

    Rhode Island Retail Federation

    As significant employers in Rhode Island, our retail partners are eager to participate in public policy discussions that influence the business climate and improve opportunity.


    Join Us In Our Activism!