Governor Chafee Takes Steps to Make it Easier to Do Business in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI (September 18, 2012) – Speaking at the sixth annual “We Mean Business Expo,” Governor Lincoln Chafee announced today that he has directed all state departments and agencies to accelerate their evaluation of regulations for any adverse effects on small businesses.

“I have challenged members of my cabinet and agency heads to put themselves in the shoes of a Rhode Island small business owner,” said Governor Chafee. “The immense challenges small businesses face in our state are urgent and they demand attention now. That is why I have fast-tracked this plan, which recognizes that neither small business owners nor the state can afford to continue waiting for these important evaluations.”

“We have 1,638 regulations in this state with which our nearly 96,000 small businesses must comply,” Governor Chafee continued. “Four years is too long to complete these economic impact assessments. We can do better. We need to act swiftly and proactively to make it easier for small businesses to succeed and grow here in Rhode Island.”

Under 2012 Public Law 445, all state departments and agencies are required to evaluate all existing regulations for harmful impacts on small businesses. This law took effect on July 1, 2012, and requires each agency to review 25 percent of its regulations each year for four years. With Governor Chafee’s new accelerated plan, however, departments and agencies must complete an evaluation of 25 percent of their regulations by December 31, 2012, a 120-day deadline. Governor Chafee has told department directors and agency heads that until that target is met, they may not file any new regulations without Governor Chafee’s direct permission or a demonstrated emergency.

Once the initial set of evaluations is complete, agencies will have another 120 days to evaluate the next 25 percent of regulations until all regulations have been appraised. The regulatory entities will provide recommendations on whether to revise, repeal, or keep these regulations. Under the accelerated plan, the evaluations would be completed as soon as next December, nearly two and a half years ahead of the mandated completion timeframe.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate setting for this announcement than the ‘We Mean Business Expo,’” Governor Chafee concluded. “My accelerated plan should demonstrate to Rhode Island business owners that my Administration is serious about making our state a better place to do business, and that, like them, I am unwilling to wait for progress.”

“I believe that this bold step taken by the Governor demonstrates to the business community that the State wants to be their partner in getting Rhode Island back to work,” said Leslie Taito, Director of Regulatory and Quality Management at Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC). “It is imperative that we evaluate our regulatory environment so we can save businesses time and resources so they can invest and grow. The Governor’s call on departments and agencies to aggressively review their regulations to identify and remove unnecessary hurdles and eliminate those that create an uncompetitive position for the State is paramount in making it easier for business to do business and critical to moving our state forward.”

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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