2019 Legislative issues

Business Climate

A critical piece of strengthening Rhode Island’s economy is reducing the burden on businesses. There must be certainty and efficiency to encourage businesses to grow and relocate in Rhode Island.  


  • Initiate and support legislation that will reduce and simplify the regulatory burden and cost of doing business in Rhode Island.

Competitive Tax Code

A fair and equitable tax system promotes private sector growth, ends poverty and makes Rhode Island more competitive.

Defend recent tax reforms which have made Rhode Island more attractive for job creation investment:

  • Corporate tax rate reduction

  • Personal income tax rate reduction

  • Increased estate tax exemptions

  • Unemployment insurance tax reforms

  • Earned income tax credit maintenance

Employment Mandates

National groups are advocating for aggressive legislation related to employment mandates in states across the country and on the federal level.


  • Monitor and analyze any legislative actions related to unrealistic employment mandates at the state and national levels.

  • Support legislation which would preempt municipal workplace mandates.

  • Defend the business community against unfair or unnecessary mandates, particularly those related to:

    • Long-term work scheduling requirements

    • Independent contractor classification – inconsistent state standard

    • Mandatory "retirement" plan offerings

    • Open-ended leave policies that lack accountability

    • So-called "comparable pay for substantially similar jobs" designed primarily to trigger law suits.

Legalization of Marijuana – Rights of Employers

Ensuring that businesses have the ability to set appropriate workplace guidelines relative to recreational marijuana use is of the utmost importance for the business community.


  • Draft and propose amendments which will clarify that employers are not required to permit or accommodate the use, sale or possession of marijuana in the workplace and will preserve the right of employers to enforce policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees and protect employers from legal liability for exercising their rights.

  • Draft and propose amendments to Rhode Island’s restrictive statute regarding drug testing in the workplace.


With new changes at the federal level, Rhode Island employers are concerned that legislative actions may increase healthcare expenses by cost-shifting onto businesses.


  • Support legislation that would assist employers in managing health care costs.

  • Oppose imposition of 10 percent payroll tax on business as a cost shifting measure to fund universal health care

Temporary Disability Insurance Reform

Rhode Island is one of a handful of states that still requires private sector workers to pay into a Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) fund, even when their employers offer private temporary disability insurance. With multiple TDI options, employers often encounter instances of fraud, over-utilization and disruptive workforce scheduling challenges.


  • Allow employees who are covered by an employer-sponsored disability program to opt out of the state TDI program

  • Support programs to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in the TDI program.

Property Tax Reform

Rhode Island’s property tax structure perpetually ranks among the highest in the nation.  It is a major factor which drives a poor business climate ranking.  


  • Support legislative proposals which would reduce the property tax on businesses

  • Create limits on rate classifications (business v. commercial).

  • Create limits on tangible property tax rates

Education and Workforce Development

Investments in workforce training are vital to ensuring that employers have access to the talent they need in Rhode Island and that residents have greater employment opportunities. 


  • Support free college tuition at CCRI to reduce burdensome student debt

  • Support increased funding for career and technical education

  • Support K-12 education reforms which will materially improve the outcomes of our public education system to assure employers have access to the talent they need and that residents have greater employment opportunities.

  • Support statewide school building repair bond issue.

  • Support renewal of Real Jobs RI funding to set a pathway from low skill/low wage jobs to high skill/high wage jobs.

  • Support Prepare RI summer jobs for youth program in conjunction with Skills for Rhode Island's Future

  • Partner with construction trades unions to deliver qualified talent to key economic development projects.

“Stay vigilant on the issues in play, because if you’re not at the table, then most definitely you’re on the menu.”
— Providence Chamber PAC