• 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 the membership and elected officials to ensure the business perspective is heard at the local, state and federal levels.

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

     

    2021 Legislative Priorities

    Business Climate
    A critical piece of strengthening Rhode Island’s economy is reducing the burden on businesses, at both the state and municipal levels. There must be certainty and efficiency in Rhode Island’s business climate to encourage businesses to grow, create jobs, and relocate in Rhode Island. 

    Actions:

    • 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.
    • Support legislation which would preempt municipal workplace mandates and create uniformity on employment law in Rhode Island.
    • Defend the business community against unfair or unnecessary mandates, particularly those related to:
      • Restrictions on data usage for online transactions (so-called “data privacy” bills)
      • Independent contractor classification – inconsistent state standard
      • Net neutrality
      • Expansion of state power to sue businesses for alleged deceptive trade practices
      • Mandatory state-run retirement plans
      • Increasing health care costs
      • Expanding legal liability for businesses, particularly regarding:
        • Immediate liens for alleged unpaid wages
        • Broadly defined and redundant workplace culture issues
    • Advocate for continued predictability for minimum wage, in conjunction with phasing out the statutory requirement for Sunday and holiday premium pay.
    • Advocate for consistency with Federal law regarding definitions for exempt employees for the purposes of overtime pay.
    • Work with stakeholders to identify common sense solutions to address workplace issues such as gender pay inequity and human resource training.
    • Support legislation that would make Rhode Island more attractive to remote workers.


    Competitive Tax Code
    A fair and equitable tax system promotes private sector growth and makes Rhode Island more competitive. Avoid new broad-based taxes, as well as harmful industry-specific taxes.

    Actions:

    • Defend tax reforms which have made Rhode Island more attractive for investment.
      • Corporate tax rate reforms
      • Personal income tax rate reforms
      • Unemployment insurance tax reforms
      • Motor vehicle excise tax reforms
      • Property tax rate cap reforms
    • Reform existing estate tax law to ensure Rhode Island remains in line with other states
    • Support legislative proposals which would reduce the property tax on businesses and individuals.
      • Create limits on rate classifications (business v. commercial).
      • Create limits on tangible property tax rates.
      • Phase in a reduction on retirement income taxes.


    Education and Workforce Development
    Investments in 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. The Chamber continues to support investments in education, a long-term commitment to education reforms, and workforce development.

    Actions:

    • Support increased funding for career and technical education.
    • Support K-12 education reforms which will materially improve the outcomes of our public education system to assure employers have access to the talent they need and that residents have greater employment opportunities.
    • Support voluntary incentives for workplaces to meet the childcare needs of their employees.


    Legalization of Marijuana – Rights of Employers

    Ensuring that businesses have the ability to set appropriate workplace guidelines relative to recreational marijuana use is of the utmost importance for the business community.

    Actions:

    • Support language that employers are not required to permit or accommodate the use, sale or possession of marijuana in the workplace and will preserve the right of employers to enforce policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees and protect employers from legal liability for exercising their rights.


    Economic Development

    Maintaining economic development incentives is vital to ensuring that Rhode Island remains competitive with other states in attracting and retaining businesses in our state.

    Actions:

    • Support the extension of the sunset provisions of existing Commerce Corporation economic development incentives.
    • Advocate for incentives to assist Rhode Island businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Environmental Sustainability

    Creating an environmentally sustainable economy will allow Rhode Island to expand job creation and economic prosperity through the expansion of our green economy. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to expand our green economy and supports industry-led efforts to create sustainability goals.

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

    Join us in supporting our activism.

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