Frustrated with reports of businesses abandoning Rhode Island for other states, Rep. Robert A. Nardolillo III (R-Dist. 28, Coventry) is calling for sweeping changes in the business climate of the Ocean State.
“Too many years have passed by while we continue the struggle to get our arms around precisely the factors that will actually deliver a sustainable, dependable small business environment that creates the conditions for success,” said Representative Nardolillo. “I’m proud that the General Assembly has begun taking the steps toward improving the business climate; now we need to take comprehensive, sweeping, bold steps to help Rhode Island rank highly for business friendliness.”
Specifically, Representative Nardolillo applauds the reduction during the last session of the minimum corporate tax and the elimination of business fuel and electricity tax, but would like to see more.
“Reducing the corporate tax is a step in the right direction,” he said. “But it was only reduced from $500 to $450. That’s still quite a bit for a tax that must be paid even before a business turns a profit. It’s things like this that make companies think twice before setting up shop in Rhode Island.”
Representative Nardolillo was particularly dismayed to read that Teespring, a company that was started by two students at Brown University is being restructured, eliminated 70 positions inProvidence and moving the jobs to Kentucky and San Francisco.
“This was one of the most successful startup companies in Rhode Island,” said Representative Nardolillo. “Last year, they raised $35 million in venture capital from investors in Silicon Valley. Now, they’re leaving for greener pastures.”
Representative Nardolillo also pointed to a massive survey in governments’ friendliness to small business that gave Rhode Island an “F” for the fourth year in a row. The nearly 18,000 entrepreneurs surveyed indicated what they’re looking for most is Chamber of Commerce-style training and networking, regulatory and licensing simplicity, and helpful government websites to cut red tape and taxes.
“I’m heartened to see that the lieutenant governor and CommerceRI have teamed with Thumbtack.com, the company that gave Rhode Island an “F” to gain a better understanding of what the state must do help small business,” said Representative Nardolillo. “I would urge the governor and CommerceRI to take immediate steps to become more aware of the startups in the state and watch the indicators of business activity, so we can act on any red flags that might lead to the loss of more small business in our state.”
Representative Nardolillo has created a Small Business Forum on Facebook. In a short time, that page has garnered 1,600 followers. He hopes to receive specific suggestions on the page to accelerate a vibrant economic environment for small businesses to thrive.