Mazzey Fluff

Edward Mazze has a commentary piece in the Providence Journal business section today (that doesn’t appear to be online) that completely reverses the order and emphasis of the steps that Rhode Island must take:

Here are 10 ideas for job creation our legislators should consider:

  • Recruit Rhode Islanders, specifically business leaders, to serve as ambassadors in sharing with others in their industries the benefits of living and working in the state.
  • Create programs to attract and keep young professionals in the state.
  • Use trade and professional associations to attract businesses from neighboring states.
  • Allocate more resources to attract foreign investment and to support existing businesses that want to sell their products and services abroad.
  • Promote the transfer fo scientific and technological knowledge from colleges and universities to the private sector.
  • Provide more competitive grants to entrepreneurs for research and developmnet activities that lead to the commercialization of business ideas.
  • Utilize agriculture and natural resources, namely the ocean, for economic development.
  • Develop a branding/marketing initiative to change the state’s image as an unfriendly business state to a business-friendly state after removing some of the barriers to doing business.
  • Get business retention and expansion activities done with little bureaucratic delay.
  • Build a regional partnership to keep businesses in the New England states.

Perhaps I’m not alone in having the impression that most of these items — some benign, some potentially helpful, some harmful because they further entrench our government in our economy — are meant mainly for the purpose of seeming busy while waiting for good times to come around again. Government and business leaders can twiddle their thumbs with these initiatives and programs until some new boom arises and then claim partial credit. Well, that next boom may never make it to Rhode Island.
Take especial note of the third to last bullet, because it really tells the tale of Mazze’s reversal of emphasis:

Develop a branding/marketing initiative to change the state’s image as an unfriendly business state to a business-friendly state after removing some of the barriers to doing business.

Removing some of the barriers to doing business in Rhode Island is so far beyond everything else in importance that it amounts to mere fluff to list “ideas for job creation.” If the legislature wants advice, I’ll break down that single mandate into three components:

  1. Slash taxes.
  2. Erase pages of regulation and mandates.
  3. Ease up on registration and licensing requirements.

Do those three things, and everything on Mazze’s list will actually be possible.

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Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

I wish Mazze would put an end to his absurd commentaries. Fluff is right. Each one is a random list of the most obvious and vague suggestions. This guy was the dean of the business school at URI? No wonder the business climate sucks!
I can’t say that I agree that we are over-regulated in RI. I don’t know of any state regulation that is preventing businesses from establishing themselves here.
Our problems are:
1. Taxes are too high, mostly on individuals.
2. Labor costs are too high (at least for manufacturing).
3. No local risk capital (ie, no venture fund money).
4. A limited talent pool for the high-end sectors that we want to encourage (IT, biotech, etc.).
If we were starting a startup software company, why in the world would we locate in RI instead of MA? You wouldn’t. They have lower taxes, a larger talent pool, and dozens of VC funds for capital. The beauty of the Bay just isn’t going to cut it as an incentive.

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Justin,
Let’s see;
“1. Slash taxes.
2. Erase pages of regulation and mandates.
3. Ease up on registration and licensing requirements.
Do those three things, and everything on Mazze’s list will actually be possible.”
Governor Carcieri, Executive Director, Saul Kaplan and the 25 business council members have already put those points in writing in the RI Economic Development Corporations’ 2008 Economic Growth plan.
Governor Carcieri announced that he will convene an Economic Forum to develop short and long term solutions to pull Rhode Island out of the recession, create jobs and stimulate economic growth. The Forum is scheduled for Thursday, November 6, 2008 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Forum participants will include leading economists, business, labor and community leaders, as well as elected officials.
Governor Carcieri will convene an Economic Forum to develop short and long term solutions based on the RI Economic Development Corporations’ 2008 Economic Growth plan developed by the governor, members of the business council and RI Economic Development Corporations.
Everything Mazze suggested is already in writing in the 2008 plan that will be discussed in an economic forum which will make his list of suggestions actually possible.
Justin it’s a free market you’ve got nothing to worry about and you got a Republican administration on your side. The governor, Executive Director, Saul Kaplan and the 25 business council members and now future members of the forum will have it all under control.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“Slash taxes.
Erase pages of regulation and mandates.
Ease up on registration and licensing requirements.”
Yup, that’s the formula that more successful states (other than those endowed with extraordinary natural resources) have followed.
Once this formula is implemented, the other task we will need to undertake is repair to our reputation in the form of a significant p.r. campaign to spread the word that Rhode Island no longer has a poor business climate. If GE’s Jack Welch so vividly (not in a good way) remembers us from fifteen years ago, we’ll have some serious work to do in that area.

HY
HY
12 years ago

could you mention the most important
barriers to doing business in RI?

Rabbit
Rabbit
12 years ago

Can we add “remove all incumbents on November 4th”?
Would that help?

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

Make it Democrat incumbents, Rabbit, and I’ll definitely second that.

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