Governor Gina Raimondo and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello cited a message of collaboration as they lent their support Tuesday to a job development-tax credit bill sponsored by state Representative Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick).
"Rhode Islanders should feel optimistic today, right?" Raimondo said as about a half-dozen legislators, Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and other officials turned out for a morning news conference on the top of a parking garage near T.F. Green Airport. "How often do you see this? The executive branch working closely and collaboratively with the legislative branch to put differences aside, to work on a bill to make it better, to make it the most effective, to get things done to get people back to work. If we keep doing this, and we will, it's a new day for Rhode Island."
Shekarchi's bill, which has been introduced for the third consecutive year, would offer a base credit of $2,500 for every new full-time job that a business creates. The credit could rise to a maximum of $7,500 a year, provided it does not exceed taxes being collected, based on factors including jobs created in high-poverty areas, near transit, or as part of a targeted industry.
Shekarchi managed Raimondo's 2010 campaign for treasurer and has become a Mattiello ally while also serving as chairman of the House Labor committee.
The Warwick Democrat suggested the tax credit could make the difference for larger established businesses deciding to add additional jobs. "And for smaller companies that are just starting out, this incentive could provide additional cash flow needed for companies to grow that are more stable and grow and prosper in Rhode Island," Shekarchi said.
Mattiello pledged to include money for tax credit program in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Shekarchi said launching the program will cost between $7 million and $9 million; he expects the initiative will generate enough tax revenue to pay for itself.
Mattiello described Shekarchi's bill as part of an ongoing focus by the General Assembly on jobs and the economy.
"We've stayed on message," he said. "We passed a bold budget. We reduced our corporate tax rate to the lowest in he Northeast. We raised our estate tax exemption, from 922,000 to one and a half million, and eliminated a cliff. We've encouraged people to stay here, to invest here, and we've encouraged them to do business. We sent a message that Rhode Island is open for business."