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:
- Slash taxes.
- Erase pages of regulation and mandates.
- Ease up on registration and licensing requirements.
Do those three things, and everything on Mazze’s list will actually be possible.