Another Link on the Chain Binding Small Businesses in Rhode Island
The governor should veto this legislation:
Legislation approved by the General Assembly in the waning hours of a special session in October could transform the work force for large public projects in the state.
The bill would limit the number of apprentices employed on certain building projects by requiring that a higher share of more experienced journeymen workers be hired.
My understanding, from when the General Assembly debated the issue, is that reporter Alex Kuffner’s assessment of the scope of the legislation is far too limited. For instance, the language cites residential projects. The determining factor is whether the contractor participates in the state’s apprenticeship program.
The bottom line is that this sort of regulation — which the state should be shedding, not installing — helps large, established companies keep their prices (and, therefore, the cost to businesses and residents of construction) up and safeguards the strangulating negotiated salaries of union workers. For all the talk about small businesses’ being the “lifeblood” of the state’s economy and the necessity of “targeted” tax breaks for small businesses, when it comes down to it, Rhode Island’s aristocracy doesn’t prioritize economic opportunity.
The governor should veto this legislation.