In recent months, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has emerged as perhaps the state's leading voice for economic revival.
In January, she announced the release of the "Moving the Needle" report, which focused on ways to improve the state's poor showing in business climate rankings. And last week, she unveiled a package of 25 legislative proposals built on the report's recommendations.
Angus Davis, who runs Swipely - the Providence firm that helps small companies accept payments and crunch sales data to better understand customers - has landed on Forbes "Most Promising CEOs Under 35" list.
"Today's recognition by Forbes validates
both our huge opportunity, and our traction with customers," said
Davis, in a statement.
The Providence Journal has wrapped up its "Reinvent Rhode Island" series - tackling Rhode Island's confoundingly poor economy - and put it all in one spot on its web site.
So, what to make of the paper's big, one-year project?
In a time of diminished resources and, too often, limited vision, at the state's paper of record, the ProJo deserves credit for the ambitious effort.
Governor Chafee, set to deliver his "State of the State" address at 7 pm tonight, will unveil a budget proposal designed to "make Rhode Island more competitive," invest in public education, assist struggling municipalities, and maintain and improve infrastructure.
Staff gave reporters a glimpse at the specifics in a briefing this afternoon, on condition that they not reveal the details until the speech begins.
Congressman David Cicilline's "Make it in America" block grant proposal, which would provide old-line manufacturers with grants to retool, retrain, and modernize, has largely been viewed through a political lens until now. It was featured in a campaign ad in 2010; the proposal has an obvious appeal to voters living through a punishing recession; and given Cicilline's position as a freshman Congressman in the minority party, the measure has had no chance of actual passage to date.
This week, Rhode Island again made a dismal showing on a "best places to do business" list: the state ranked dead-last in a CNBC report released on Tuesday.
This latest ranking comes two years after the state lowered its top marginal tax rate
in a bid to improve the state's reputation as a place to do business.
The poor ranking, of course, doesn't prove the tax change was a bad idea; perhaps it was
just the first of many steps Rhode Island must take to attract
Congressman David Cicilline has made reviving Rhode Island's ailing manufacturing sector a central focus of his brief Washington career. And his push has dovetailed nicely with the Democratic leadership's "Make it in America" agenda, which calls for a national manufacturing strategy and tax policy that incentivizes "insourcing" over than "outsourcing."
Under current law, Rhode Island's payday lenders can charge interest rates as high as 260 percent. That can leave low-income folk on a debt treadmill - taking out loans to pay off the interest on previous loans.
This year, advocates are pushing hard for a measure that would cap the interest rate payday lenders can charge at 36 percent - the top rate for other lenders in the state.
A bill in the General Assembly would crack down on payday lenders in Rhode Island. Here's the script of the new radio ad, paid for by a coalition of unions, minority advocacy groups, religious organizations, and anti-poverty advocates:
Curt Schilling, in his interview with the Providence Journal, suggests Governor Lincoln Chafee was acting irresponsibly when he publicly declared that the state was working to keep 38 Studios "solvent" and later said the company's first game was an "abject failure."
He also attacks Chafee for revealing two of the company's closely held secrets - that it was spending $4 million per month and that its next game, code-named Project Copernicus, wasn't scheduled for release until June 2013.
The Providence Journal has a strong front page story today by veteran scribes Mike Stanton and Andy Smith explaining Curt Schilling's side of the 38 Studios debacle. The paper gets inside the company's generally off-limits headquarters, provides a splash of color - Schilling shows up in the first paragraph "gaunt, unshaven and wearing a wrinkled 38 Studios T-shirt" - and offers a blow-by-blow account of the saga consuming the state and much of New England.
Governor Lincoln Chafee, who's had a tough go of it since taking office on a crisp day in January 2011, has looked more statesmanlike this week than at any point in his tenure.
That is due, in part, to the nature of crisis. When something big and troubling happens in a state, all eyes turn to the chief executive. Think of Governor Carcieri after the Station nightclub fire.
As soon as news broke of financial troubles at former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling's 38 Studios video game company, observers began comparing the firm to Solyndra. Former GOP gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille made the analogy just yesterday in an interview with WPRI-TV.
On the surface, the comparison makes some sense: the Obama Administration invested in Solyndra, the solar energy firm, only to watch it go bust - prompting questions about government picking winners and losers in the private sector.
Just back from buisiness incubator Betaspring's 2012 Spring Launch Day in their new, loft-space offices on Chestnut Street, right down the street from Phoenix HQ. And it was enough to give you some hope for the economic future of our fair city (full disclosure: one of Betaspring's principals, Owen Johnson, is my wife's cousin).