Caprio on Port Development
I think we need to focus on a cluster of industries, not get…not play the timing the market type of thing–if something’s hot now let’s push for it. We need a strategic plan as to how we’re going to get there. We can’t float from EDC Director to EDC Director….I think we have an opportunity, especially with the re-shaping of the financial world. I don’t think it’s going to be as in vogue to be in the 61st floor in some skyscraper in Boston. So maybe we can use those things to our advantage, but we need a tax structure in Rhode Island that puts us on the playing field.
His line of thinking is in agreement with many others, including Ed Achorn:
[Governor Carcieri] has stubbornly opposed a containerized-cargo port at Quonset Point since he was first a candidate for the office, and his economic-development efforts have been, to put it kindly, ill-considered. While the state has shed thousands of real jobs, the governor has been wandering down pretty side paths with his Economic Development Corporation, exploring boutique ideas and tossing around such buzz phrases as “innovation factory” and “information economy” while ignoring the state’s greatest comparative advantage.
Granted, much of Rhode Island’s difficulties, which long predated the national recession, can be traced to its uncompetitive taxes, unfriendly business climate and generally mediocre public schools.
Caprio also mentioned his philosophy–going back to his days in the Legislature–of reducing capital gains taxes in the Ocean State to be more competitive with Massachusetts. He also agreed with my suggestion that keeping up with Connecticut and Massachusetts was nice, but we should really strive to be MORE attractive to business than our neighbors.