At the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce annual legislative luncheon, 600 business leaders and over 80 lawmakers came together to focus on the economy. ”This is the hard stuff that we are talking now. And it’s the necessary stuff. And it’s what we need to do to move Rhode Island forward, ” said Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D) Rhode Island.
In the wake of Governor Chafee’s easily refuted assertion that same-sex marriage will improve the economy, business leaders and lawmakers came together for real solutions.
ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “If there’s been one criticism of the Rhode Island General Assembly this year it’s been this: that too much time has been spent on social issues and not enough on the economy.” The people of Rhode Island would seem to agree according to recent polls.
House Speaker Gordon Fox says that the General Assembly can multitask, but Sen. Dawson Hodgson seems to disagree: “Frankly we should have been prepared to act on day one with 2 or 3 meaningful steps to bring forward some progress on the economy.” However, the House’s laser focus on redefining marriage kept the economy “hostage”, to be used as a “bargaining chip”. With the House looking towards the legalization of marijuana, it doesn’t appear that addressing the economy – as the people wish – is of primary concern to the House; despite Speaker Fox’s recognition of sales tax issues driving consumers to do business in Massachusetts.
For those looking for hope in the Ocean State, turn your keel toward the State Senate. The Rhode Island House of Representatives seems more concerned with playing in the social sandbox rather than helping families who are underwater. Families need economic prosperity, not redefinition.