By overwhelming margins, the Rhode Island House of Representatives Tuesday passed a half-dozen bills to change the state’s approach to economic development.
One bill would try to create a more streamlined effort through a new Executive Office of Commerce. Another bill replaces the state Economic Development Corporation with a Commerce Corporation headed by a secretary of commerce.
It is not yet clear precisely how the state will move forward.
The Rhode Island House of Representatives is expected, this Tuesday, to approve a package of bills reshaping the state’s approach to economic development. House Speaker Gordon Fox and Governor Lincoln Chafee differ on how to move forward.
One of the House bills would replace the state Economic Development Corporation with a Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. It would establish a secretary of commerce, with the idea of making one person responsible for pursuing economic development.
Governor Lincoln Chafee’s choice to lead the state Economic Development Corporation faces approval by the full state Senate committee Tuesday. The votes comes amid debate over the EDC’s future.
Chafee’s choice, Marcel Valois, was unanimously approved by a Senate committee last week. Valois led the EDC in the 1990s during Lincoln Almond’s tenure as governor. He says Rhode Island needs to do a better job of helping business when it can and getting out of the way when it can’t.
Governor Lincoln Chafee’s choice to lead the state Economic Development Corporation appears on a fast-track to approval, following his unanimous approval Tuesday by a state Senate committee. Marcel Valois is calling for more support for small innovators and entrepreneurs.
Valois says Rhode Island’s business climate doesn’t have to remain the butt of bad ratings in national surveys. Invoking the state motto of “hope,” he says Rhode Island can prosper by bringing a sharper focus and new approach to economic development.