2013-01-24 / News

Senate, expenditure council join forces

Sen. President Teresa Paiva Weed at a news conference last week unveiled a report and recommendations to address Rhode Island’s rankings on business competitiveness surveys.

The report – “Moving the Needle” – reviewed the individual factors that often cause Rhode Island to rank poorly compared to other states, and made recommendations to begin to improve the state’s ranking and overall business climate. The report was a joint effort of the Rhode Island Senate and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.

“This report offers substantial recommendations to change how Rhode Island is ranked in national business-competitiveness surveys,” said Paiva Weed. “The economy is the Senate’s priority, and will be the Senate’s focus this session.”

In the fall, Paiva Weed directed the Senate policy office to examine the metrics that are looked at by those who produce such surveys, such as CNBC, Forbes Magazine and the Tax Foundation. She asked the office to make recommendations on how to improve Rhode Island’s rankings. When it was learned the expenditure council was working on a similar project, it was decided to combine efforts.

“Not only does “Moving the Needle” contribute to the discussion by providing baseline measures of economic performance, it also details specific action items for reform,” said the RIPEC’s John Simmons. “Perhaps more importantly, it can be used as a tool to evaluate legislation, as one of the ways bills should be evaluated is by whether or not they have a positive effect on these types of indicators.”

The findings will be the basis for major legislative initiatives this session, since the Senate believes the General Assembly’s priority and focus at this time must be on the economy.

The report established benchmarks and statistical baselines based on current conditions in several areas: economy, workforce, education, transportation, infrastructure, cost of doing business, and quality of life.

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