Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | February 10, 2011

Chamber Small Business Committee Talks Policy

Today, the Chamber’s Small Business Council met to discuss legislation pending before the RI General Assembly which impact the state’s small business community.

The lively discussion covered topics like allowing the bi-weekly payment of wages. Rhode Island currently has the distinction as the only state in the country to mandate all non-exempt private sector workers to be compensated every 7 days. Changing this is a top legislative priority for us!

We also talked about the establishment of a Health Insurance Exchange for Rhode Island as mandated by the Federal Health Care Reform Act. The Exchange would provide a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance. This year’s legislation will focus on putting the “structure” together. Going forward, we believe that the Exchange should be an adjunct to what exists in the marketplace, not a mandate. The dialogue is just beginning this legislative session, and the Chamber is actively engaged.

On the tax front, the Council discussed legislation to modify the estate tax and repeal the minimum business corporation tax and the minimum franchise tax. Being sensitive to the current fiscal climate, committee members urged the Chamber to focus on the modification of the estate tax. However, many in attendance said, if there is a way to modify the corporate tax and keep it revenue neutral, that should also be considered.

It was a great discussion and thank you to all that participated.

We can always use more input! If you are interested in participating in this conversation and joining the Small Business Council contact Paula Hopkins at

– Janet Raymond – SVP, Economic Development and Operations

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