Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | June 28, 2012

A Look Back at the 2012 Legislative Session – Part II

The message the Chamber,  its team and its membership base sought to deliver during the  2012 legislative session was that Rhode Island needs to create a business climate where people are prepared to invest in the state and provide the jobs that are required to grow revenues and employ our residents.

In the second installment of the 2012 Legislative look back, we will highlight a few issues where we were successful in delivering this message.

Electronic Plan Review: Enacted
The Chamber strongly supported passage of this measure, which will fund a uniform new web-accessible software system to be utilized by the state and municipalities for statewide electronic plan review, permit management and inspection system. The goal is to create a state-wide automated system for the entire permitting plan review process, eliminate excess paperwork and provide real-time visibility to project status.

Independent Contractor Definition: Not Enacted
Strongly opposed by the Chamber, the measure would have set up a definition for Independent Contractors unnecessarily exceeding the Federal IRS definition.

Personal Income Tax Increase: Not Enacted
The Chamber was able to fend off a number of floor amendments introduced in the whirlwind last days of the General Assembly session which would have modified or repealed the state’s personal income tax reform, potentially returning to a punitive rate of 9.9% with no deductions.

Casino Gaming Agreement: Enacted
The Chamber voiced its support for this legislation citing the importance of protecting the revenue stream to the state budget and being mindful of the jobs created and maintained each year by Twin River and Newport Grand. If approved by voters on the November ballot, the legislation guarantees the state up to 18 percent of the new table game revenue.

Minimum Wage: Enacted                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Chamber supported legislation that would raise the state’s minimum wage without tying it to the consumer price index.

Temporary Caregiver Insurance: Not Enacted
The Chamber opposed this legislation, which would have permitted employees to receive paid leave act as a temporary caregiver and increased taxes on employers paying into the disability insurance program.

Worker Protection and Job Loss Notification Act: Not Enacted
The Chamber originally opposed this legislation which would have imposed very onerous obligations on large companies (over 75 employees) in the event that the employer was forced to implement a reduction in the workforce, including extended notice requirements with strict penalties. Chamber staff worked with proponents of the measure to draft language that would mirror federal regulation; however the legislation with proposed changes was not enacted.

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