• Policy Agenda 2024

    Each year, the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce works on behalf of its members to develop a policy platform for each General Assembly session to advocate for small business issues.  The Government Affairs Committee, made up of Chamber members from area businesses, meets regularly throughout the year to monitor legislative activity at the State House and work together to develop policy priorities for the organization.  Our goals are to improve the business climate, seek funding for technical assistance and capacity building, engage in workforce development and talent pipeline initiatives, and work with regional municipal leaders on all issues impacting the business communities.  The following is a summary of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce’s policy priorities for 2024:

    Economic Development

    • Work closely with state leadership to seek funding for a wide variety of programs to support industry sector activity and infrastructure improvements in the Region.
    • Act as a resource of information and an advocate for small business interests with regard to regionally significant development projects, programs and resources.
    • Support statewide efforts to offer economic incentives to existing RI businesses for growth opportunities.
    • Advocate for state support of public private partnerships when the projects have positive economic impact implications for the region, maintain and enhance job opportunities, increase revenue projections, and enable growth and expansion among RI’s prominent industry sectors. 
    • Support innovative business models and their ability to operate successfully in the State of Rhode Island.
    • Encourage tax policies that enable regional competitiveness for our business community.
    • Support historic tax credit legislation to support reuse and repurposing of historic properties in order to enhance economic development initiatives and maintain New England character throughout our communities.
    • Support the film tax credit program.
    • Encourage revising estate tax policies and rates.
    • Closely monitor proposals related to pension reform.

    Small Business Issues

    • Explore the creation of a revolving loan fund program to be managed and distributed locally.
    • Build programming to further enhance engagement with minority business service providers and MBE owned businesses to support growth and development.
    • Work closely with state leadership to establish programs to meet the technical assistance needs of the small businesses community, specifically for ecommerce site development, financial literacy/stability, and technology upgrades for general business operations.
    • Support proposals to reduce regulations and fees imposed on the small business community.
    • Support for state matching funds of SBA, SBDC and CWE federal resources, to enable those valuable resources to small businesses to continue and perhaps be enhanced.  Continue to partner with all three organizations to bring quality programming to the Greater Newport region.
    • Continue to support efforts to streamline the regulatory process on a statewide and municipal level for issues related to the business community.
    • Reduce the cost of doing business by implementing tax reform and opposing new state mandates that will be costly and infringe on the private sector’s ability to do business autonomously.
    • Develop state tax incentives for businesses to start 401 k plan for employees for first 3 years.
    • Funding for capacity building for regional economic development entity.
    • Support the Supply RI and Innovation Voucher Program for small businesses.
    • Support efforts to diversify energy sources and reduce overall costs of utilities to maintain a level of competitiveness for the region.
    • Advocate on behalf of environmental policies that will have direct impact on our island communities, related to resiliency, transportation options, and the economic activities associated with ocean communities.

    Workforce Development, Education and Talent Pipeline

    • Offer Job Bank for employers and individuals seeking work.
    • Assist seasonal employers with identifying and securing additional workforce through the J1 visa programs though a direct marketing outreach program.
    • Support the development of talent recruitment packages and incentives through a statewide program to address workforce shortages.
    • Invest in workforce development programs for training and retraining a skilled workforce for blue economy industry sectors.
    • Support Real Jobs RI, Wavemaker programs, and RI Promise programs.
    • Support modernization of our education system and its facilities to best support a skilled workforce that can meet the demands of the future of work.
    • Support efforts to strengthen the community care, healthcare and child care workforces.
    • Support efforts to expand access to child care services for workforce, including supporting efforts to address the cliff effect impacting women in the workforce eligible for child care subsidies that would allow for upward mobility.


    • Advocate for programs and projects for infrastructure improvements related to housing, broadband, transportation and education.
    • Advocate for reimplementing the workforce housing innovation challenge program.
    • Support efforts to leverage federal investment to broadband infrastructure throughout the region.
    • Support planning efforts related to infrastructure investments to Aquidneck Island that add military value and efficiencies to Naval Station Newport.

    Industry Sector Projects

    • Defense – Explore the US Chamber of Commerce Workforce Talent Pipeline program for supporting defense manufacturing programs.
    • Marine Trades – Support the abandoned materials recycling program.
    • Blue Economy – Continue to support the statewide blue economy strategy and implement programming to support Greater Newport.
    • Hospitality and Tourism – Supporting efforts related to lengthening the tourism season in the Region. 

    Municipal Government Leadership

    • Continue to support coordination of the Regional Economic Development Division, through public, private partnership, BRE program and investment in areas identified in the regional 10 year strategic plan for economic development.
    • Regular meetings with statewide elected officials and municipal leadership.

    In addition to regular Government Affairs Committee meetings with state and local officials, the Chamber will also be offering quarterly public policy sessions to bring statewide candidates and conversations to Greater Newport for all members.  

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