Job Creation: Rhode Island's Highest Priority
"My top priority is to get our economy back on track. That’s why I’m fighting hard to pass legislation that will put Rhode Islanders back to work and support the small businesses that employ them."
Rhode Islanders are experiencing economic difficulties the likes of which we have not seen in a generation. That’s why my number one priority in the Senate has been fighting to put Rhode Islanders back to work. From tax credits that help businesses hire, to infrastructure programs that will put people to work upgrading our schools and roads, to policies that level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers against unfair foreign competition, I am doing everything I can to help get Rhode Islanders working again.
I have been traveling across Rhode Island, visiting with families and small business owners to hear their ideas about how we can help businesses grow and bring more jobs to our state. I’ve taken their stories and ideas with me to Washington, and have been fighting for legislation to get our economy back on track.
Here are a few of the efforts I’m currently working on to help bring jobs to Rhode Island and support the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy:
I introduced the Offshoring Prevention Act, legislation to close a tax loophole that rewards companies for moving factories overseas. Our tax code should be designed to help American companies keep and create good-paying jobs right here in the United States, not ship them overseas.
I’ve heard from Rhode Island small business owners who want to hire more workers, but who just aren’t sure they can afford it yet. That’s why I introduced the Job Creation Tax Credit Act, legislation that will help businesses expand their workforce by providing them with tax credits for hiring new employees who have been jobless for at least 60 days.
It makes no sense to allow our vital transportation infrastructure to continue deteriorating when our unemployment rate remains stubbornly high. Road and bridge repairs can put Rhode Islanders to work and lay the foundation for future economic growth. That is why, as a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I worked to advance a transportation policy reauthorization bill that would support over 8,000 jobs for projects in Rhode Island.
Ensuring Rhode Island’s long-term economic security means protecting existing jobs in the manufacturing and tourism industries, but it also means investing in new industries that will create jobs for future generations. Clean energy has the potential to be the next big source of middle class jobs, and I’m working hard to make sure our Ocean State is at the forefront of the clean energy economy. I have helped secure funding to make Quonset an assembly hub for wind turbines, and I’m fighting for important tax incentives and grant programs for renewable energy projects.
Promoting Textile Manufacturing
Textile manufacturing has historically been vital to Rhode Island’s economy and identity. I have worked closely with industry leaders and state and federal entities to bolster the Rhode Island textile market, organizing industry roundtable discussions to identify opportunities and challenges, and connecting Rhode Island textile companies with Department of Defense procurement officials.
Here are a few things I've been proud to do to help create jobs in Rhode Island:
- Supported the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which Congress passed in 2011, providing tax credits for businesses that hire veterans and improving job training for our servicemembers.
- Fought to pass bipartisan legislation to crack down on unfair currency manipulation by China and other nations, which hurts American manufacturing and has caused significant job loss.
- Helped secure a $22.3 million grant for the Quonset Development Corporation to develop alternative energy sources and alleviate highway congestion. This project will support an estimated 500 to 800 jobs.
- Helped secure $21.7 million to improve broadband access in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, creating 200 jobs in fields like network design, project management, and construction, while providing a foundation for future business growth.
- Helped secure a $3.72 million grant to Providence Plan's Building Futures program to provide green jobs training for about 1,600 Rhode Islanders.
- Helped secure $10.5 million in federal funding to create more than 550 Rhode Island jobs and transform the Port of Providence into a modern marine cargo center that will diversify shipping options in the region.
- Successfully fought for an extension of a grant program for renewable energy projects that supported approximately 290,000 U.S. jobs nationwide.
- Supported the creation of a federal grant program that awarded more than $3.4 million to the Community College of Rhode Island in 2011 for targeted job training for workers changing careers, and instructional programs that meet specific industry needs.
- Helped pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, legislation that saved or created 12,000 jobs in Rhode Island through projects such as health information technology upgrades at the Rhode Island Quality Institute; grants to Narragansett Bay shipyards; and education and job training in green construction, hospitality, finance and other high-growth industries.
- Successfully pushed for extension of small businesses research and development grants. Since 1983, Rhode Island businesses have received 277 such awards totaling more than $98 million.
- Helped enact an extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provided employment assistance to over 1,000 Rhode Island workers who lost their job or whose hours and wages were cut due to the effects of foreign competition between 2009 and 2011.
- Worked to bring the America's Cup World Series sailing races, expected to create 400 jobs, and the Netroots Nation conference, which is projected to generate $1.5 million in economic activity, to Rhode Island in 2012.
I'm fighting hard for legislation that will improve our economy and keep jobs in Rhode Island... legislation that came from listening to Rhode Islanders.
I'd like to hear from you, too. Are there policies that you believe would improve our economy?
Share your thoughts and ideas.