As Rhode Island tries to overcome high unemployment, some observers argue that more urgent steps are needed to spark the economy. One of the groups making that argument is a free-market think tank, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity. The center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse, stopped by our studio to talk about a proposal to eliminate the sales tax and other issues.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

The Boston Globe reported Monday that the Canadian government has established a business accelerator program in Cambridge to help its ``most promising young start-ups tap into the expertise and energy of the growing innovation economy around MIT and, ideally return home with new customers, connections and ideas.’’

As anyone with a pulse is aware, the area around Kendall Square in Cambridge has evolved over the past two decades from a seen-better-days warehouse and manufacturing district into an innovation lodestone.

Rhode Island State House
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The leadership of the state Senate Tuesday unveiled a legislative package of 25 bills meant to improve Rhode Island’s economy.

Heartening News for Rhode Island Economy

Mar 13, 2013
Downtown Providence RI
Catherine Welch / RIPR

Two new reports suggest Rhode Island’s economy is on the rebound. 

The fight for fiscal stability in Woonsocket and mixed news on Rhode Island's economy. That’s part of the discussion this week on Political Roundtable with guest Woonsocket City Council President John Ward.

Saul Kaplan, head of the Business Innovation Factory, says Rhode Island has the necessary assets for a thriving economy. Part of the challenge, he says, is transforming the state's small size from an obstacle into a benefit.

It’s up to business leaders and other people in Rhode Island, not just lawmakers, to help save the state’s economy.

That’s what economic expert Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution told a lunch gathering of more than 200 people in Providence Tuesday.

RIPR file / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the findings in a new report are part of the process of improving Rhode Island’s economy.

The report centers on the state’s business climate and found Rhode Island has made some progress in cutting taxes but they’re still perceived as being a potential roadblock to attracting new business. It also found gaps in funding for start ups.

Chafee says the process is part of what he calls a methodical approach his administration is using to target a better economy.

URI index shows RI economy getting its mojo back

Feb 13, 2013

A University of Rhode Island economist is out with his monthly index of economic indicators. And it shows the state has economic momentum unmatched since 2003.

Professor Leonard Lardaro’s “Current Conditions Index” hit 92 in December, the highest mark in eight years.  All but one of 12 economic indicators showed growth; the lone exception being government which is scaling back hiring as services are consolidated.

Another week passes with the usual talk from the Rhode Island political and business elite on economic development. RIPR political  analyst Scott MacKay says its time for some changes in the way Rhode Islanders view our state and ourselves.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Ten Rhode Island colleges and universities are teaming up to help the state out of its economic doldrums.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced the formation of the “Rhode Island Higher Education Research Collaborative.”  Its mission: to provide nonpartisan data that will help state leaders develop sustainable economic policies.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) A report examining why Rhode Island’s business climate ranks poorly in national surveys is slated to be released Tuesday.

Rhode Island has repeatedly placed near the bottom in some national surveys on the business friendliness of different states. The new study – entitled “Moving the Needle” – was produced by the state Senate and the business-backed Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) House Speaker Gordon Fox says the time has come for the state Senate to pass a same-sex marriage bill.

Fox, who is openly gay, was joined by his partner as he received the oath of office Tuesday for another term as House speaker.

Fox says Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed hasn’t given him any assurances about the fate of same-sex marriage bill. He says he hopes this is the year for the legislation to move forward.

Minimum wage workers in Rhode Island are getting a pay raise Tuesday. The state’s minimum wage is going up for the first time in five years.

Legislation raising the minimum wage in Rhode Island goes back to 1956, when it was $0.90 an hour. State labor numbers find about 10,000 Rhode Islanders earn the minimum wage, and will get a bump in their next pay check. Sydonia  Lary works two hourly wage jobs in Providence. She’s pleased the state’s minimum wage is going up.

RI housing market rebounds

Dec 31, 2012

There is some good news for Rhode Island’s housing market.  The Rhode Island Association of Realtors reports that single family home sales increased by 43% last month as compared to a year ago.  The median price of 195-thousand-dollars is 1% higher than November 2011.  
November’s numbers also show an even balance between the supply of houses for sale and the number of potential buyers according to the RIAR.