Chamber stands with Governor Raimondo’s veto of unbalanced business bill
On our continued quest to advocate for the business community and improve the overall economy in our state and municipalities, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce urged the governor to veto a bill that could have had a detrimental effect on all the great progress our state has made. Representing all types of businesses, we are particularly concerned about major legislative initiatives that could change the landscape of business in our state, and adversely impact our local communities.
The Newport County Chamber of Commerce stands with Gov. Gina Raimondo on her recent veto of the proposed legislation for Continuance of Contractual Provisions. The bill would have required existing contract language in the collective bargaining agreements with certified school teachers and municipal employees to remain enforceable until a new bargaining agreement would have been reached.
While on the surface the bill looks like it could help the labor force, it would actually have the opposite effect by limiting opportunities for our communities, and therefore the local economy. When business suffers, the workers suffer.
As we expressed in a letter to the Governor urging her to veto this bill, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce were very concerned that the requirement to keep all conditions of the current contract in place would have tipped the balance of power to one side - labor - at the expense of the public. With personnel costs taking up the bulk of municipal budgets, the ability to modify a municipality’s cost structure would be severely limited. A substantial amount of municipal budgets would be held up by contract continuance without any modifications and without consideration of the fiscal needs or conditions of the community.
Importantly, contractual provisions, such as contract continuance, are and should remain negotiable in the collective bargaining process.
Any financial strain on municipalities could result in an increase in property tax rates on both businesses and residents. Municipalities do not have diverse revenue streams to support government administration. If this legislation had become law, it would further restrict the ability of the management to control labor costs and avoid tax increases.
Additionally, increasing the cost of pension obligations hinders the ability to control spending on services and administrative costs. We thank the Governor for her efforts to both champion pension reform successfully and veto this legislation to keep those efforts intact.
We are excited to announce that our 2017 Board of Directors has officially been instated. To help members learn more about our Board, we have added a new component to our monthly e-newsletter. Our “5 Questions with the Board” feature will profile a different Board member each month!
This month, we welcome and introduce our new Board Treasurer, Ms. Bonnie Gomes! Bonnie is the President and Owner of 3G Broadcasting.
1. What was your primary motivation for becoming a member of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce?
When we purchased the stations, in 2013, one of my first actions was not only to join the Chamber, but to develop a partnership. I have worked in the radio industry for many years, and know that Chambers of Commerce are a vital part of helping businesses succeed, which is also our goal as a media company. Fitting into tight-knit communities, like Newport County and South County, is far more effective when there is a platform in which you can meet other business-minded people. My involvement with the Newport County Chamber has been rewarding on many levels!
2. What do you find most interesting about your business or industry?
The radio station’s mission is to be a voice and a sustaining resource for the communities we serve, while also working to help local businesses affordably market their products/services; speaking directly to the tens of thousands of listeners tuning in every day! Every day is different! We may meet with a bank president in the morning, and an auto body owner in the afternoon, both with the same goal…a thriving business! We are fortunate that we get to be a part of their business, by helping them achieve their goals with new ideas and customized programs!
3. How has your membership with the Newport County Chamber of Commerce helped to advance your business or industry?
I have seen, first hand, the effort put forth by the Chamber director, to make sure that Newport County’s voice is heard at state government level. That helps all county business! In addition, the radio station’s ongoing involvement with the Chamber has brought us more public awareness. We are the media sponsors of most of the events the Chamber holds, and often have a physical presence. We also have developed a strong “Business of the Week” program, saluting Chamber member businesses. Top of mind awareness is the lifeblood of local radio stations, and the Chamber has certainly played a big part in our success!
4. What is your favorite Newport County Chamber of Commerce event or program?
I like the Business Expo. It is unique, in that we invite the general public, as well as business-to-business participants. I like to walk through the various rooms and speak to business owners and managers, but I also enjoy talking to people who have listened to WADK for years, or have just discovered MIXX 99.3. It is always very interesting and entertaining.
5. What do you hope to bring to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce as a Board Member in 2017?
This year I am involved as an officer of the executive committee and although I have been on the board since 2013, I am more closely involved with every aspect. I take this position seriously and will continue to share ideas, give thought to ways of effectively supporting local business and always strive to make time to serve the board and my fellow Chamber members.