Chamber: Gov, lawmakers should overhaul EDC within 90 daysSeptember 25th, 2012 at 4:24 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is applauding a study issued Tuesday calling for an overhaul of Rhode Island’s economic development strategy – and wants state leaders to act fast in implementing it.
Laurie White, the chamber’s president, said Governor Chafee and state lawmakers should act within the next 90 days to implement the proposals put forward by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council. Those include demoting and renaming the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and creating a new secretary of commerce position in the governor’s office to oversee economic strategy.
“I think it’s important that action occur quickly,” White told WPRI.com. “Our view is that economic development in Rhode Island has to be the main event. … We need a very dramatic, aggressive effort to change the path that we’re on.”
White called the RIPEC study “very well done,” saying she appreciates the amount of outreach the business-backed think tank conducted and agrees strongly with the idea that there is a lack of focus inside state government on supporting commerce in Rhode Island.
“This is an excellent foundation to launch from,” she said. “Let’s act swiftly and move quickly, but not just rearranging what we have – we’ve got to do something new and dramatic and bold, or else we’re going to get the same old same old. We don’t want these reports to become a caricature of themselves.”
Update: Charlestown Rep. Donna Walsh, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development, tells WPRI 12′s Susan Campbell that it’s “probably not possible” for lawmakers to pass new legislation by December, since a new class will be elected on Nov. 6 and an emergency session would be required. But Walsh said legislation could be drafted and pre-filed in December to be acted on the following month if there is a consensus around changes.
• Related: Demote EDC, says study ordered by Chafee after 38 Studios (Sept. 25)
An earlier version of this story misstated Laurie White’s title.