Policy Agenda 2022
The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce is working on behalf of its members to enhance the regional economy through a number of specific priorities, including, supporting the recovery of the local economy, advocating for specific small business issues, supporting industry sector projects, engaging in education and workforce development initiatives, and working with municipal leaders to identify ways of improving the local business climate and broader economic development strategy. Additionally, there are a number of regional infrastructure and economic development projects that we will advocate for ARPA and federal infrastructure dollars be dedicated to. The following is a summary of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce’s policy priorities for 2022:
- Continue to share broadly the regional economic development strategy for Greater Newport.
- Work closely with state leadership to advocate for and advise on appropriate programs from stimulus packages relevant to 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.
- Support statewide efforts to offer economic incentives to existing RI businesses for growth opportunities.
- Support and advocate for programs that will enhance the entrepreneurial ecosphere in the region through projects, grants, tools, resources and programming.
- 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.
- Continue to host quarterly economic update events to provide important informative sessions on topics impacting the broader 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.
- Assist in identifying and implementing talent retention and attraction programs.
- Establishing a remote readiness package to attract talent and investment.
- Encourage revising estate tax policies and rates.
Small Business Issues
- Build programming for BIPOC owned and operated businesses and further enhance engagement with minority owned businesses who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
- Work closely with state leadership to advocate for and advise on appropriate programs from stimulus packages to meet the technical assistance needs of the small businesses most greatly impacted by the global pandemic, as well as programs that assist businesses with ecommerce site development 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.
- Implement a regional digital business registration database with e-signature capabilities.
- Funding for capacity building for regional economic development entity and technical assistance programs.
- Create a regional revolving loan fund for small businesses.
- Support the Supply RI, Innovation Voucher Program for small businesses, Real Jobs RI, and Wavemaker programs.
- Support efforts to diversify energy sources and reduce overall costs of utilities to maintain a level of competitiveness for the region.
- Encourage installation of geothermal units for new buildings construction and tax incentives for upgrades
- Advocate on behalf of smart environmental policies that will have direct impact on our island communities, including legislation relative to resiliency, transportation options and banning of plastic bags/straws that adversely impact the Bay and the economic activities associated with ocean communities.
- Promote education and workforce development opportunities for the broader business community through state and philanthropic resources.
- Offer Job Bank and Job Fair for employers and individuals seeking work.
- Assist seasonal employers with identifying and securing additional workforce through the J1 and H2B visa programs.
- Develop talent recruitment packages and incentives through a statewide program, funded with ARPA funds to address workforce shortages for the hardest hit industries
- Invest in workforce development programs for training and retraining a skilled workforce for blue economy industries
- Support reinstatement of the Incumbent Worker Training program
- Extension of RI Promise and Wavemaker programs for workers in the hardest hit industries and non-public schools
- Support efforts to strengthen the healthcare and child care workforces.
- Support efforts to address the cliff effect impacting women in the workforce eligible for child care subsidies that would allow for upward mobility.
- Oppose legalization of recreational marijuana, due to the adverse effects that will have on employment opportunities specifically related to the Navy Base and defense industries.
- Develop programming related to blue economy in conjunction with k-12 and higher ed related to Innovate Newport.
- Advocate for programs and projects for infrastructure improvements related to housing, broadband, transportation and education.
- Advocate for reimplementing the workforce housing innovation challenge program
- Short-term workforce housing units/redevelopment of historical properties, etc.
- Invest in broadband last mile infrastructure priority projects
- Invest in infrastructure enhancements for the Region’s priority projects
Industry Sector Projects
- Defense – Support the Real Jobs RI program and their investment in defense and undersea technology sector.
- Marine Trades – Support the abandoned boat recycling program.
- Blue Economy – Continue to support the statewide blue economy strategy and implement programming to support Greater Newport.
- Hospitality and Tourism – Supporting efforts to revive the sector post-pandemic. Continue to grow the ShopGreaterNewport initiative to encourage shopping local and small.
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.
- Support for municipal efforts to enhance infrastructure and improve local policies and procedures to positively impact the overall business climate in the region.
- Advocate for state bond regional investments.
In addition to these efforts and legislative priorities, the Chamber will also be offering quarterly public policy sessions to bring statewide candidates and conversations to Greater Newport for all members.