November 21, 2008

Legislators Looking for Answers

Marc Comtois

Some Rhode Island legislators are looking into what businesses require to compete and be successful in the Ocean State:

Members of the House Finance Committee spent the morning visiting five prospering manufacturing companies around Rhode Island. Their mission: listen to company executives to find out what the legislature can do to promote job creation....

The ideas that emerged were as diverse as the companies themselves: create a better incubator environment for new businesses; mandate more efficient permitting processes at the state and local levels; create partnerships between universities and local businesses to cultivate a better job pool; and finally, get out there and recruit companies to come to Rhode Island.

Add in working to maximize the existing, natural advantages we have here--like, say, promoting maritime industries--and we'll be getting somewhere.

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Hmm. I bet if you got rid of all the illegal aliens in manufacturing in this state you'd be able to put thousands of the state's legitimate citizens back to work and get that unemployment rate back down to the national average.

Posted by: Greg at November 21, 2008 2:23 PM

>Members of the House Finance Committee spent the morning visiting five prospering manufacturing companies around Rhode Island ...

So they hit just about every one of the prospering companies in one day, five of them.

Well. that's a lot easier than trying to visit the thousands of struggling companies in RI.

Posted by: Tom W at November 21, 2008 5:06 PM

This was fine but shouldn't the next field trip be to states which are fiscally successful?

Posted by: Monique at November 21, 2008 8:48 PM

Does Nevada count?

Posted by: Greg at November 21, 2008 9:17 PM

So where were they five years ago, when policy changes might have had a chance of turning things around -- or at least shoring them up -- before the storm hit?

Everything I've heard so far -- ports, better worker training, partnerships with universities -- is, at best a medium term solution and at worst pablum. None of these proposals does anything to solve the immediate problem: revenues are collapsing, and the state is running out of cash to meet its obligations. And as Don H can surely tell, that is the acid test when it comes to turnarounds.

As I've said many times here, the end game in RI promises to be utterly fascinating -- and we're in it now. And what a surprise -- the GA leadership is paralyzed. Nobody wants to be the one to tell the public sector unions that their pensions must be cut (there is no way RI can dig itself out of this hole), and the welfare crowd that even more cuts must be made there too. And that's after taking the axe to state aid to local governments, and forcing many of them into Chapter 9.

And so instead of facing reality, they're all sitting around and hoping that, despite you-know-who winning the Dem primary in RI, President Obama will save the day with a big dollop of federal aid dollars. Of course, anybody with an ounce of experience in RI realizes that said federal aid would merely postpone the day of reckoning for another year. But that's one year closer to cashing out and moving to Florida, which is the only goal that counts for many of our "leaders." Of course, these same people are also taking the Ostrich approach when it comes to wondering whether their RI pension checks will actually clear once deposited in their local Florida bank.

But that's all part of the end game.

No wonder pony tail boy has cleaned up his act and gone into a more respectable line of work -- ambulance chasing.

The times they are a changin' -- at an ever faster rate.

Posted by: John at November 21, 2008 11:30 PM

Well said, John.

Posted by: Tom W at November 22, 2008 3:22 PM
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