PROVIDENCE – At the sixth annual “We Mean Business Expo” on Tuesday, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced his plans to make it easier for small businesses to be successful in Rhode Island.
Chafee instructed all state departments and agencies to accelerate their evaluation of regulations for any adverse effects on small businesses, shrinking the evaluation period from four years to 480 days.
“I have challenged members of my cabinet and agency heads to put themselves in the shoes of a Rhode Island small business owner,” said Chafee in prepared remarks.
“The immense challenges small businesses face in our state are urgent, and they demand attention now,” added Chafee. “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.”
According to a release, Rhode Island’s nearly 96,000 small business owners must comply with 1,638 regulations. “Four years is too long to complete these economic impact assessments. We can do better,” said Chafee. “We need to act swiftly and proactively to make it easier for small businesses to succeed and grow here in Rhode Island.”
“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,” Leslie Taito, director of regulatory and quality management at the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, said in a statement.
Under 2012 Public Law 445, all state agencies and departments are required to evaluate all existing regulations for harmful impacts on small businesses. The law, which took effect on July 1, requires each agency to review 25 percent of its regulations per year for four years.
Under the governor’s new, accelerated plan, departments and agencies must complete an evaluation of 25 percent of their regulations by December 31, a 120-day deadline.
Until that target is met, the state entities are not allowed to file any new regulations without direct permission from the governor’s office.
Once the initial set of evaluations is compete, agencies will have another 120 days to evaluate the next 25 percent of regulations until all regulations have been appraised.
The regulatory entities will then provide recommendations on whether to revise, repeal or keep the evaluated regulations.
Under the accelerated plan, the evaluations could be completed by as soon as December 2013, nearly two and a half years ahead of schedule.
“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,” said Chafee.