Building a Small-Business Onion

Layer upon layer, that is. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if Rhode Island’s elected officers would seek to solve our problems by relinquishing control rather than expanding their influence? Consider legislation that Representative Gregory Schadone (D, North Providence) proposed this week:

The “Small Business Revolving Loan and Credit Enhancement Fund Act” would offer partial, low-cost loans and purchase credit enhancements to promote the growth of small business in the state. The fund would be created and administered by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC). …
Under the legislation, loans can be given to small businesses for up to 25 percent of the total debt required, but cannot exceed $100,000. The EDC can also purchase credit enhancements on behalf of specific businesses, which also cannot exceed $100,000. All loans made by the EDC under the fund would be loaned at a below-market rate.

It’s not as if legislators are ignorant of the underlying problems that businesses face:

“The small business community is a viable part of Rhode Island’s economic makeup,” said Representative Schadone. “Rising costs of employee health benefits and taxes create a difficult environment for small businesses to function to their full capability without some form of assistance.”

The folks at the General Assembly just want to reserve the right to dictate terms when it comes to health care and taxes (as well as other areas affecting business, such as workers’ comp) and then to layer on government discretion when it comes to dispensing relief from the climate that they have created:

Appropriated funds could not be used for the following purposes: grants, restaurants and professional office buildings, projects that don’t attract or retain employment opportunities, nonprofit activities and private or public speculative real estate ventures.

Here’s a general principle to keep in mind when entering RI voting booths in the coming elections: The smart leader will realize that Rhode Island needs its government to get out of the way, not to pull the economy even more firmly into its suffocating embrace.

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Justin Catalano
16 years ago


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