There is a school of thought, promoted right here in the Ocean State at Rhode Island School of Design, that calls for the integration of art and design with science and technology to provide a competitive edge in the global marketplace.
Innovation has often been synonymous with science, technology, engineering and math — STEM. With the addition of art and the flourishing design industry that follows, the STEAM movement can be instrumental in the creation of new industries and jobs to boost our economy. Science and creativity are converging, and we need to continue to equally support both to pull our economy forward.
In Rhode Island, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., has championed adding art and design into federal programs that target STEM fields to encourage innovation and economic growth. Government agencies have followed, and we are seeing the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts working together.
STEAM is becoming an emerging industry in Newport County with high-tech jobs and growth opportunities that are backed by workforce development initiatives.
As a voice for local businesses, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce seeks to highlight the importance and breadth of our emerging STEAM industries and their innovative capabilities. It is important that we align our efforts with the state’s focus, so we are an active partner in our state’s future success.
We plan to showcase the innovative work taking place in Newport County and provide our members with the opportunity to see first-hand the exciting new capabilities in our community. The Newport County Chamber of Commerce’s STEAM Before Hours series will offer an interactive experience for our members to see such exciting innovators as FabNewport and the capabilities of Community College of Rhode Island cyber range and the International Yacht Restoration School of technology and trade. We are hoping to visit Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, and some of our area’s top technology companies as well.
We encourage our members to join with us for our upcoming STEAM Before Hours series, which will be announced in our Chamber Spotlight, e-news, and at newportchamber.com. We also hope that all members of the community embrace the importance of STEAM as a catalyst for our future.
Erin Donovan-Boyle is executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Commerce Spotlight appears every third weekend of the month in The Daily News and online at Newport DailyNews.com.
An Update from the State House
What’s in the Governor’s Budget?
Not Sick Pay
After searching high and low for a budget article adopting a mandatory sick time policy, the Chamber was unable to find one. According to the Governor’s staff, she will be submitting a separate stand-alone bill in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!
Article 3 – Promise Scholarship
The Governor’s tuition program begins with the graduating class of 2017. The program would be funded by General Revenues as well as any donations that might be received, and covers both tuition and any mandatory fees assessed by the University of RI (URI), RI College (RIC), and the Community College of RI (CCRI). To qualify, the student must be less than 19 years of age at the time of graduation or at the time he/she earns a GED. If the student wishes to attend CCRI, he/she must enroll as a full-time student immediately after graduation. If the student wishes to attend URI or RIC, he/she must already be enrolled and completed 60 credits before the application for the tuition program is submitted. The student is required to be a full-time student (special circumstances exempted), maintain a 2.0 GPA and stay on track to finish on time.
Article 19 – Electric Vehicle Programs
Article 19 simply creates a new state program to encourage the lease or purchase of light-duty electric vehicles. The language calls for the program to begin in 2018 and sunset in 2022. For FY2018 (which starts 7/1/2018), the Office of Energy Resources would receive $250,000 to distribute, as rebates, to drivers licensed in Rhode Island or who can prove residency in the state, and who purchase or lease the electric vehicle from an establishment in Rhode Island.
Article 21 – the Article of Business Penalty Increases
The first four sections of Article 21 actually eliminate fees, including the twenty-dollar ($20) fee for individuals who must register their apprenticeship application with the Division of Professional Regulation. Under current law, apprentices in the following disciplines are required to pay the fee: electrical lightning protection installer, plumbing, water filtration installer, irrigator, pipefitters, and refrigeration/air conditioning. Apprentices in the Plumbers, Irrigators and Water Systems field are required to file this fee annually.
From the business side, sponsors of apprentices, not exempted under Chapter 28-45 of the General Laws would no longer be required to pay an annual fee of $120 to the Department of Labor and Training. Sponsors who are licensed master or contractors were exempt under current law.
All other apprentices that were charged a $24 fee to register their apprenticeship with the state, would receive a break through the elimination of their fee requirement.
HOWEVER, the remainder of this Article is dedicated to raising the penalties on employers who fail to comply with any violation related to the payment of wages, which includes the following:
Misclassification of Employees: While misclassification is covered under the administrative penalty section (meaning a penalty of 15% - 50% of back wages is assessed depending on the infraction), Article 21 adds an additional penalty for misclassifying employees. Under current law, an employer that declares an individual to be an independent contractor when that person should be an employee, would be liable for a civil penalty between $500 and $3,000 for each misclassified employee for the first offense and up to $5000 for subsequent offences. That penalty would be divided equally between DLT and the employee. Article 21 raises the $500 threshold penalty to $1500 per misclassified employee.
Quarterly Wage Report Penalty: Failure to file the state’s quarterly wage report is not covered under the new proposed administrative fee in Article 21, but it does carry its own penalty. Under current law, all employers must file quarterly reports detailing the wages paid to employees. The report includes each employee’s name, social security number and total wages paid (and any other information requested by DLT). Failure to file the report results in a $25 fine plus $25 per month that the report is delinquent up to $150. Article 21 raises the maximum fine to $200.
Penalties for Failure to Contribute or File Reports: Article 21 raises a number of other penalties starting July 1, 2017. Under current law, if an employer KNOWINGLY fails to pay an amount due to a state agency a fine of $10 - $100 will be assessed. Article 21 raises the fine to $25 - $200. If an employer fails to file a required report (does not have to be KNOWINGLY) to a state agency, the penalty was $10. The new penalty would be $25.
Penalty for Working as an Electrician Without a License: Section 5 of Article 21 increases the fine for violating the Electrician’s law (Chapter 5-6). If an individual works without a license, has the wrong license for the job to be done, fails to keep up with continuing education requirements or fails to adhere to the electrician apprenticeship ratios, the penalty levied will be $1500 for the first violation (was $500) and $2,000 for a subsequent violation (was $950). This penalty can be assessed on a person, firm or corporation after notice and a hearing before the board of examiners of electricians.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5197, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- ENERGY SITING (Requires environmental impacts be considered in energy plant siting proceedings.)
House Bill No. 5217, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS -- LITTER CONTROL AND RECYCLING (Defines as "litter" any commercial/private/political sign/poster/notice subject to penalty provisions of §37-15-7.)
House Bill No. 5222, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS - REAL ESTATE BROKERS AND SALESPERSONS (Requires a real estate broker to release customer or client funds in an escrow account as instructed by the parties to a failed real estate transaction, within ten (10) days of receipt of a written release.)
House Bill No. 5225, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- UNFAIR SALES PRACTICES (Defines the term "regular price" for purposes of the law regulating discount price advertisements.)
House Bill No. 5235, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- ESTATE AND TRANSFER TAXES (Provides that estates in Rhode Island be taxed at a rate equal to the maximum credit for state death taxes allowed by the federal revenue act, which exemption is set at five million, four hundred ninety thousand dollars ($5,490,000) in 2017.)
House Bill No. 5242, AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES-- AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT SOCIAL PROTECTION ACT (Creates an accident compensation fund to provide payments and benefits to those injured by uninsured motorists, to be administered by the DHS.)
An Innovative Manufacturing Incubator and Commercial Makerspace is coming to RI. A group of business and community leaders are creating a place that will provide shared workspace, manufacturing and rapid prototyping equipment, tools, expertise and business development services to make things and grow businesses collaboratively. Any individual, business or organization can participate no matter where you are located. We will provide affordable access to a wide variety of equipment otherwise unavailable to a single individual or small business, including everything from traditional metal, wood-working, and electronics tools to 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines. Also available will be sewing, chemical-work, composites, and CAD stations. Dry, wet, and hooded work areas will be included. Rhode Island has a rich manufacturing heritage and is a center for excellence in marine trades, jewelry, clothing, and advanced composites among others. We want to build on this made-with-skilled hands tradition and support a new generation of makers, thinkers and tinkerers; those who will start and grow businesses, those who will improve products and advance technology, and those who will learn and pass along skills. The plan is to create an innovative and collaborative environment that serves the Rhode Island community, which is why your feedback and participation is critical. Whether you are an entrepreneur or hobbyist, an established business or a start-up, a retiree or a teenager, this will be your home for making things. A place to meet and swap ideas. A place to tackle and solve problems. A place to create new products, launch new businesses, grow existing ones, teach new skills and create new jobs. If you had affordable access to shared space, equipment, and expertise, what would you make? Please take our Needs Assessment Survey at http://bit.ly/2jsyxGv - it is short and takes only a few minutes and is much appreciated!
The Matchmaker is co-hosted by RI PTAC and the DoD Northeast Regional Council. The Matchmaker will be held at Crowne Plaza in Warwick on March 22nd and 23rd. March 22nd is a Small Business Professional Training for Prime Contractors and Agency staff and March 23rd is the Matchmaker itself. Additionally, Polaris MEP will be holding a Manufacturing B2B event that day also at the Crowne.
Registration for any of these events can be done at http://www.ribusinessmatch2017.org/. Early bird pricing will continue until February 1st.
They will also be holding Matchmaker Preparation workshops for small businesses a few weeks prior to the event, sign-ups for these are on our website: http://riptac.ecenterdirect.com/events.
An Update from the State House
Governor’s Budget Released
Governor Raimondo released her vision of the State’s 2018 budget on Thursday evening. H.5175 (link provided below) details the $9.3 billion revenue and spending plan that includes two years of free tuition for Rhode Island high school students as well as a continuation of many of the economic development programs that were created last year.
In a first blush, brief overview of the budget, the revenues seem to rely on current sources of revenue, an increase in sales tax due to the extension of the tax to on-line purchases, an increase in a few fees, and a fifty cent ($.50) increase in tax on the sale of cigarettes – the new tax rate would be $4.25 per pack giving Rhode Island the second highest tax in the country (New York is the highest).
In the coming weeks, the Chamber will be highlighting budget Articles of interest to the business community.
Article 2 – Manufacturers
Article 2 seeks to assist manufacturers in order to grow the economy. It expands the purpose of the current Innovation Voucher program by allowing up to $1 million of the fund to be used for research and development by and for small manufacturers. “Research and development” would include: research, technological development, product development, commercialization, market development, technology exploration, and improved business practices that implement strategies to grow business and create operational efficiencies. This voucher can NOT be used in conjunction with R&D tax credits available under current law.
This Article also establishes a Refundable Tax Credit. A manufacturer could submit an application for up to $200,000. The Commerce Corporation must review the application – prior to the manufacturer actually making the investment. The Commerce Corporation would determine how much the manufacturer would be entitled to receive based on: “the nature and amount of the business’s investment; the necessity of the investment and/or credit; whether the business is engaged in a targeted industry; the number of jobs created by the business’s investment; whether the investment took place in a Hope community as defined in general law 42-64.20-3 and the regulations promulgated thereunder; and such other factors as the commerce corporation deems relevant.”
The Refundable Jobs Training Tax Credit can be found in Article 2. Similar to the Refundable Tax Credit program, an applicant for the Job Training Tax Credit must submit an application to the Commerce Corporation PRIOR to expending funds on job training efforts. Again, the maximum amount a manufacturer can apply for is $200,000, and the credit must be used in the tax year in which the training funds were expended. Lastly, the Commerce Corporation is required to supply the names and addresses of any qualified employer that enters into an incentive agreement with the State. That list will be given to the Tax Division and will be available on a public website.
Article 4 – Vehicle Surcharge
Under the Raimondo budget, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will add a $1.50 surcharge to every transaction. The fees collected are to be deposited into a DMV Technology restricted receipt account to be used for debt service, projects and maintenance of the DMV computer system. The Article states that the fee will sunset on June 30, 2022.
Article 4 pushes back the requirement to purchase a new license plate to 2018 (the current law calls for drivers to get a new plate by April 1, 2017.
Article 4 diverts 0.5% of the monies in the Highway Maintenance Account to the DMV for operation expenditures and continues this practice on an annual basis
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5132, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - TAXICAB'S FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (Cuts in half the amount of property and personal injury motor vehicle mandatory insurance coverage that taxicab companies are required to maintain on their vehicles.)
House Bill No. 5140, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT SECURITY - BENEFITS (Increases the maximum weekly unemployment benefit rate to the higher of fifty-seven and one-half percent (57.5%) of the average weekly wages paid to workers in the prior calendar year or six hundred sixteen dollars ($616) per week.)
House Bill No. 5141, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION (Establishes a surtax on the business corporation tax for publicly traded corporations subject to SEC disclosure and reporting requirements, if corporation's ratio of compensation for its CEO to median worker is equal to or greater than 100 to 1.)
House Bill No. 5142, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - SALES AND USE TAXES - LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Eliminates assessment of sales and use tax on taxicab services effective July 1, 2017.)
House Bill No. 5175 (Governor), AN ACT RELATING TO MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE STATE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2018
House Bill No. 5182, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- MOBILE TELEPHONE USE (Prohibits the use of a non-hands-free personal wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, except for public safety personnel or in an emergency situation, and would provide for monetary fines for violations.)
Senate Bill No. 29, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS - STATE PURCHASES (Requires the state and municipalities to award bids for purchases of goods or services to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder whose bid is the lowest price.)
Senate Bill No. 38, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - SALES AND USE TAXES - ENFORCEMENT AND COLLECTION (Enacts a 10 year statute of limitations on tax assessment or collection action for sales/use/estate/personal income/business corp. tax.)
Senate Bill No. 79, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- WORKERS' COMPENSATION--MEDICAL SERVICES (Requires employers to pay the reasonable transportation costs for employees that travel round-trip to receive workers' compensation related health care services.)
Every Friday, GoLocalProv's Russ Moore breaks down who is rising and who is falling in RI politics, business, and sports. Moore has worked on both sides of the desk in Rhode Island media, both for newspapers and on political campaigns.
This Friday, he nominated Chamber member, Patricia Raskin for "Who's Hot?" He says, "For the past 25 years, Raskin has been providing small business owners and entrepreneurs valuable advice on how to solve problems creatively and in a way that helps them and their customers at the same time. Raskin’s show, heard on 630 WPRO on Saturdays from 3-5 continues to be a great resource for small business owners and all businessmen and women."
Join us at the Chamber on Tuesday, February 21st for Patricia's seminar on Using Talk Radio to Grow Your Business.
An Update from the State House
House and Senate Name Committee Assignments
There are some new faces on the House Committees as released this week. Rep. Robert Jacquard (D-Cranston) was named Chairman of the House Corporations Committee, replacing long time Chairman Brian Patrick Kennedy. Rep. Kennedy was named Speaker Pro Tempore and will now be on the rostrum when Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is not able to lead the floor. Rep. Jacquard was elected to the House in 1992, making him one of the most senior members of the House. He is a retired police sergeant and a self-employed attorney.
Leading the House Labor Committee will be Rep. Robert Craven Sr. (D-North Kingstown). Rep. Craven was first elected to the House in 2012 and is currently an attorney at Robert E. Craven & Associates in North Kingstown. He is an assistant solicitor and probate judge in Charlestown and an assistant solicitor in East Providence.
Below is a list of committees that hear business issues periodically. Please note the committee membership for your Senator and Representative.
House Finance House Labor
Chairman Marvin Abney Chairman Robert Craven
Vice Chair Kenneth Marshall Vice Chair Mary Messier
Vice Chair Teresa Tanzi Vice Chair Stephen Casey
Rep. Gregg Amore Rep. Christopher Blazejewski
Rep. Jean-Philippe Barros Rep. Helder Cunha
Rep. Grace Diaz Rep. John Edwards
Rep. Antonio Giarrusso Rep. Kathleen Fogarty
Rep. Joy Hearn Rep. Deborah Fellela
Rep. Alex Marszalkowski Rep. Kenneth Marshall
Rep. James McLaughlin Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee
Rep. Kenneth Mendonca Rep. Daniel McKiernan
Rep. Michael Morin Rep. Robert Nardolillo
Rep. William O’Brien Rep. Brian Newberry
Rep. Robert Quattrocchi Rep. Jared Nunes
Rep. Scott Slater Rep. Aaron Regunberg
Rep. Carlos Tobon Rep. Stephen Ucci
House Corporations House Health, Education & Welfare
Chairman Robert Jacquard Chairman Joseph McNamara
Vice Chair Mary Messier Vice Chair Dennis Canario
Vice Chair Raymond Johnston Jr Vice Chair Mia Ackerman
Rep. Stephen Casey Rep. Samuel Azzinaro
Rep. Michael Chippendale Rep. David Bennett
Rep. Antonio Giarrusso Rep. Julie Casimiro
Rep. Raymond Hull Rep. Susan Donovan
Rep. Katherine Kazarian Rep. Arthur Handy
Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy Rep. Robert Lancia
Rep. Charlene Lima Rep. Shelby Maldonado
Rep. Michael Morin Rep. Ramon Perez
Rep. Jeremiah O’Grady Rep. Robert Phillips
Rep. Joseph Solomon, Jr. Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell
Rep. Anastasia Williams Rep. Sherry Roberts
Rep. Moira Walsh
House Judiciary Committee House Environment & Natural Resources
Chairman Cale Keable Chairman Arthur Handy
Vice Chair Edith Ajello Vice Chair David Bennett
Vice Chair Carol Hagan McEntee Vice Chair Jeremiah O’Grady
Rep. Joseph Almeida Rep. Susan Donovan
Rep. Dennis Canario Rep. Raymond Hull
Rep. Arthur Corvese Rep. Katherine Kazarian
Rep. David Coughlin Rep. Robert Lancia
Rep. Robert Craven Rep. John Lombardi
Rep. John Edwards Rep. Alex Marszalkowski
Rep. Blake Filippi Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee
Rep. Jason Knight Rep. Robert Nardolillo
Rep. Jeremiah O’Grady Rep. William O’Brien
Rep. Justin Price Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell
Rep. Sherry Roberts Rep. Aaron Regunberg
Rep. Evan Shanley Rep. Carlos Tobon
Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson
House Small Business
Chairwoman Deborah Ruggiero Rep. Justin Price
Vice Chair Daniel McKiernan Rep. Robert Quattrocchi
Vice Chair Michael Morin Rep. Evan Shanley
Rep. Lauren Carson Rep. Teresa Tanzi
Rep. Gregory Costantino Rep. Thomas Winfield
Rep. Helder Cunha
Rep. Deborah Fellela
Rep. Arthur Handy
Rep. John Lombardi
Rep. Jared Nunes
Rep. Robert Phillps
Senate Finance Senate Commerce
Chairman Daniel DaPonte Chairman Roger Picard
Vice Chair Louis P. DiPalma Vice Chair Marc Cote
Vice Chair Walter S. Felag Sen. Hanna Gallo
Sen. Ryan Pearson Sen. Frank Ciccone III
Sen. James Doyle Sen. Paul Fogarty
Sen. Maryellen Goodwin Sen. Frank Lombardo III
Sen. Nicholas Kettle Sen. Elaine Morgan
Sen. James Seveney Sen. Ana Quezada
Sen. Susan Sosnowski
Senate Health and Human Services Senate Labor
Chairman Joshua Miller Chairman Paul Fogarty
Vice Chair Gayle Goldin Vice Chair Frank Lombardo III
Sen. James Sheehan Sen. Frank Lombardi
Sen. Jeanine Calkin Sen. Frank Ciccone III
Sen. Elizabeth Crowley Sen. James Doyle
Sen. Thomas Paolino Sen. Mark Gee
Sen. Adam Satchell Sen. Gayle Goldin
Sen. Susan Sosnowski Sen. Maryellen Goodwin
Sen. Michael McCaffrey
Senate Environment Senate Judiciary
Chairwoman Hanna M. Gallo Chairman Michael McCaffrey
Vice Chair Harold M. Metts Vice Chair Paul Jabour
Sen. Adam Satchell Sen. Erin Lynch Prata
Sen. Louis DiPalma Sen. Stephen Archambault
Sen. Thomas Paolino Sen. William Conley Jr.
Sen. Ryan Pearson Sen. Cynthia Coyne
Sen. Ana Quezada Sen. Mark Gee
Sen. James Seveney Sen. Frank Lombardi
Sen. James Sheehan Sen. Harold Metts
Sen. Donna Nesselbush
Sen. Leonidas Raptakis
House Oversight Committee To Discuss Retail Renewal Permit Process
On Thursday, January 19th, At the Rise (around 4:20 p.m.), the House Oversight Committee will be hearing testimony from Director Robert Hull of the Department of Revenue and the Tax Administrator, Neena Savage about the current process for the application or renewal of Retail Sales Permits. The hearing will be held at the State House in Room 101.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5056, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- DRIVE-THROUGH WINDOWS -- ASSISTANCE TO DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING (Requires businesses with drive-through windows to install hard-of-hearing equipment at the ordering station.)
House Bill No. 5057, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- MINIMUM WAGE (Increases the minimum wage to ten dollars and fifty cents ($10.50) commencing July 1, 2017.)
House Bill No. 5058, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN (Requires children who seek a special limited work permit to successfully complete a worker rights' training program established and funded by the department of labor and training.)
House Bill No. 5069, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM (Repeals the "Rhode Island Health Care Reform Act of 2004 – Health Insurance Oversight" as well as the "Rhode Island Health Benefit Exchange, and establishes the Rhode Island comprehensive health insurance program.)
House Bill No. 5078, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT (Changes the period of time required for occupancy for transient lodging accommodations from 30 days to 6 days.)
House Bill No. 5107, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - MINIMUM WAGES (Commencing on January 1, 2018, require that all developmental disabilities organizations that employ five (5) employees or more and who are reimbursed for such services by the state, to pay their employees at least fifteen ($15.00) dollars per hour.)
House Bill No. 5108, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY (Encourages commercial property owners to install vehicle barriers at their retail establishment locations, and also permit insurers to consider the installation of such barriers to provide a discount on the owner's insurance policy.)
House Bill No. 5113, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSE (Permits the use of fax or email transmission of the medical certificate required for issuance of a CDL by the division of motor vehicles.)
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI is a no-cost 12-week program that helps Rhode Island small businesses grow through a practical business education, increased access to capital, and a support network of advisers and peers.
This is a great opportunity for small business owners to learn critical business skills to take your business to the next level. Apply today: http://www.ccri.edu/10ksb
Over 7,000 small business owners have participated nationwide and in the U.K., and the program continues to expand. With a 99% graduation rate, business owner participants are translating the knowledge they gain from the program into increased revenue and job growth — within just six months of graduating, 69% of participants have increased their revenues, and 48% have created new jobs.
The 12-week educational curriculum, developed by Babson College, focuses on practical skills that can immediately be applied by business owners — including accounting, negotiating, marketing, human resources management, and much more. Business owners also receive one-on-one mentoring from a dedicated business advisor, and develop a growth plan specific to their business.
Eligible applicants must be the business owner, have at least 2 employees (can include the owner), have been in operation at least 2 years, made at least $100,000 in gross revenue in the most recent fiscal year, and must be located in Rhode Island.
Learn more about the program and access the 10 minute online application here.
Application deadline January 30, 2017
An Update from the State House
Welcome to the first edition of Under the Dome 2017!
On January 3, 2017, the legislature began its new year. In the coming weeks, legislation will be filed, hearings will be held and the Chamber may ask you to contact your legislators when the need arises. If you haven’t done so already, please go to the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s web page, https://vote.sos.ri.gov/ and enter your information as requested (if you live in Rhode Island), so that you will know who represents you as a State Representative and a State Senator. Thank you for your help!
Awaiting Committee Assignments – Neither the House nor the Senate has announced any committee membership lists at this time. Those assignments are expected to be made soon.
The calendar for 2017 has been released. The key dates to keep in mind are:
Opening Day January 3, 2017
Last Day for Public Bill Introduction February 16, 2017
Winter Break February 20-24, 2017
Spring Recess April 17-21, 2017
The following bills were filed last Thursday and Friday.
House Resolution No. 5015, HOUSE RESOLUTION EXTENDING THE EXPIRATION AND REPORTING DATES OF THE SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION TO STUDY METHODS FOR GROWING TOURISM IN THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND THROUGH COORDINATED BRANDING AND MARKETING EFFORTS (Extending the reporting and expiration dates of the House Commission to study the methods for growing tourism in Rhode Island to May 15, 2017 and expiring on August 15, 2017.)
House Bill No. 5021, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - BUSINESS CORPORATION TAX (Exempts a corporation from the minimum corporate tax for the first three years following the date of incorporation.)
House Bill No. 5022, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - SALES AND USE TAXES - LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Creates a sales tax holiday for the days of August 12, 2017 and August 13, 2017 and no excise or sales taxes would be collected on non-business sales of tangible personal property with certain exceptions.)
House Bill No. 5024, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX (Increases the exemption of social security income from state income tax from $15,000 to $30,000 commencing in 2018.)
House Bill No. 5029, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION (Provides that corporations with less than fifty (50) employees shall not be subject to the four hundred fifty dollar ($450) minimum corporate tax.)
House Bill No. 5041, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- CONTROL OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION (Codifies into law Carcieri's "Illegal Immigration Control Order" which would require the DOA to order the dept to utilize the E-Verify progress to verify the employment eligibility of new hires & businesses doing business for the department.)
As we kick off the new year with the best of intentions to make 2017 the best one yet, don't forget to make some resolutions for your business. Whether it is to increase sales, learn how to market your business better with social media tools, or grow staff and production by 10%, etc., having goals is a proven methodology to improving overall health and success of your business. The end of the year is a good time to reflect on the progress that was made in the last year, and the beginning of the year should be about strategically planning for your company's growth and increased success.
A simple google search of "Business Resolutions" will bring up tons of ideas for strengthening and refining your goals for your business. One great article published by Intuit Quickbooks summarized the more common New Year's resolutions for small businesses in 2016:
Resolve to Re-Evaluate Your Mission Statement and Overall Goals
Resolve to Ask for-and Listen to-Feedback
Resolve to Refresh Your Social Media and Marketing Strategies
Resolve to Enhance Your Technology Footprint
Resolve to Plan Ahead
Resolve to Take a Breath and Nourish Your Mind and Body
Resolve to Learn One New Thing
Resolve to Achieve a Bit of Balance
The full article can be found here. Some other articles discuss more specific goals for particular businesses and industries.
The most important thing to remember is the process of establishing your resolutions is what will be the key. Outlining goals and strategizing for your business' growth and success will help guide your business practices and decisions throughout the year. Sticking to your resolutions will be that much easier!
Happy New Year!