House passes Ruggiero bill for economic development
The state House of Representatives last week approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ruggiero to establish the Rapid Rhody program to provide swift access to capital for small employers in Rhode Island.
The bill is part of the package of 18 bills supported by House leaders to improve the quality of Rhode Island’s economic development. The legislation’s aim is to help small businesses access loans quickly.
“One of the biggest concerns I’ve heard from small business owners is they need access to capital,” said Ruggiero, a Jamestowner. “It’s often a very long, complicated process for a small business to get a loan through a traditional bank these days. Small companies often don’t have the staff or the resources to devote a lot of time to jumping through all the hoops that many lenders require. With the Rapid Rhody program, we can quickly help them expand and succeed, which improves both our economy and our state’s business friendliness, which in turn, can help us attract more growing businesses.”
Rapid Rhody is designed to provide access to capital within 90 days to employers with fewer than 100 employees. Recipients must be registered for at least a year in Rhode Island and must also be current with state taxes. Following receipt of the loan, the business must agree to operate in Rhode Island for at least two years. If passed into law, the act is to take effect Jan. 1.