Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey was chosen to serve as the new Senate majority leader, a post previously held by Ruggerio since 2011.
Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, will continue serving as majority whip for the new leadership team.
"I have always been fortunate in the Senate to work alongside such a tremendously talented and dedicated group of public servants," said Ruggerio in a statement. "We come from many different backgrounds and all regions of the state ... but our goal is fundamentally the same: We want to make Rhode Island an even greater place to live and work."
Ruggerio is the longest-serving member of the Senate. He supported legislation establishing the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and economic-development initiatives, including removing bureaucratic hurdles facing small businesses.
McCaffrey, D-Warwick, is an attorney who has been active on issues that include elder abuse and strengthening sex-offender laws.
He also championed the Good Samaritan Overdose Act, which expanded legal protections for those who seek medical assistance for individuals experiencing a drug overdose, according to a Senate news release.
Paiva Weed served as Senate president for more than eight years, before resigning to become president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.]]>
The tagline of the expo is "Showcasing breakthrough innovation, collaboration and impact."
"I think people will find it's a wonderful opportunity to learn about the latest breakthrough innovations in the life sciences in Rhode Island. It's a chance to really see the community and learn about the community," MedMates Executive Director Carol Malysz said Thursday.
David Goldsmith, MedMates president and co-founder and director of Aspiera Medical in Woonsocket, said the idea for the expo came out of a discussion last fall, when MedMates' programming committee began to brainstorm the types of events that would create value for the local life sciences community.
"This idea kind of evolved to showcase all the different companies that are doing really cutting-edge things in life sciences, whether biopharmaceutical, diagnostics, health or neuroscience," Goldsmith said Thursday.
Three panels will be held: "Advances and Future Outlook in Neuroscience," "Precision Medicine Innovation" and "Design Innovation in Medical Devices." Goldsmith said each panel will run between 40-45 minutes.
R.I. Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor and Tom Osha, senior vice president, innovation and economic development, for Wexford Science + Technology LLC in Baltimore, are the keynote speakers.
Wexford is planning an innovation center for Providence, in the Interstate 195 Redevelopment District.
Goldsmith said they hope for about 50 exhibitors, which will be a mix of companies and schools, and between 200 and 300 attendees.
Goldsmith said the expo - which MedMates hopes will become an annual event - will be beneficial for those who attend.
"They're able to see and talk directly with the companies in the life sciences space ... in one location. They will really get a snapshot of what is going on in Rhode Island and nearby in Massachusetts and Connecticut," Goldsmith said.
He said it will be a good opportunity for startups to meet with other life science and medical-technology executives so they can ask questions and receive advice and feedback. He said startups with a "solid idea" should also think about becoming an exhibitor. There also may be opportunities to connect with potential investors, he said.
"We'll have a couple of tables specifically dedicated to startups," Goldsmith said.
MedMates also is reaching out to students studying biosciences and biotechnology so they can learn more about future careers, and see what "a day in the life of a life sciences executive" is really like, Goldsmith said. He said some of the larger companies, including Bard Davol Inc., Ximedica and EpiVax Inc., also will be recruiting.
Universities also will be represented, including Brown University, Roger Williams University and the University of Rhode Island, and will have information about their undergraduate and graduate programs.
Malysz said all Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts colleges and universities have been invited to attend.
The expo will be held from 12:30-6:30 p.m. at the Omni Providence Hotel on West Exchange Street.
Tickets are on sale HERE. The cost for students to attend is $10; the nonprofit and academic rate is $20; and the standard rate is $30.
Goldsmith said MedMates also is reaching out to companies for sponsorships. Sponsors include the Biotechnology Industry Organization, BlumShapiro, URI, Feeney Law Group, EpiVax, Virgin Pulse and TagMedica.]]>
CRANSTON - A group of certified public accountants have come out in opposition to Gov. Gina M. Raimondo's free college tuition proposal, saying it's not the best use of taxpayer investment in public education.
The Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants, a group of 2,100 professionals in the public, private and education sectors, announced on Thursday it opposed the governor's proposal to pay for two years of college tuition for qualifying in-state students at public institutions. The proposal is called Rhode Island Promise.
"Our membership cares deeply about seeing Rhode Island's next generation access a quality and affordable education, but they don't believe this plan is the way to achieve that," said Robert A. Mancini, RISCPA president.
The trade organization received a presentation about the plan before surveying its members on its merits "as proposed," according to a spokeswoman. About 78 percent of respondents expressed opposition, and the leading reason for concern was future year costs associated with the program's growth. Rhode Island Promise would cost an initial $10 million for fiscal 2018, and would require $30 million each year beginning in fiscal 2021.
"A central concern expressed by RISCPA respondents was that the plan seems out of step with what [Rhode Island] can presently afford, as it would create one of the most ambitious college tuition subsidy programs in the country," according to the group.
Other raised concerns included future costs, rapid enrollment increases, low expectations for academic requirements and eligibility restrictions based on financial need. Raimondo's proposal features students with a 2.0 grade point average, and there are no family income threshold requirements.
Moody's Investors Services in February said free college tuition proposals like Raimondo's could improve credit ratings at public institutions because of increased enrollment at a relative low cost to taxpayers, but negatively impact revenue at some of the state's private schools as enrollment trends shift.
RISCPA pointed to the governor's efforts to upgrade career training and workforce development programs as an effective way to "improve the state's attractiveness to employers and future economic development."
"We share the governor's concern about the need to see more in-state students complete a college or community college education, however, we respectfully disagree that this plan is the best use of taxpayer investment in public education," Mancini added.
The controversial tuition proposal has quickly become one of the most polarizing legislative issues so far this year. House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, who strongly influences the state budget, has called it "truly unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible." He advocates instead to fully eliminate the $220.6 million car tax, which Raimondo is seeking to reduce by 30 percent.
The tuition proposal has received strong support from various educational organizations, media outlets and other elected officials.
Advocacy groups to endorse it include the NAACP Providence Branch and Opportunities Industrialization Center.]]>
The rate is three-tenths of a percentage point lower than January's jobless rate and nine-tenths of a percentage point lower than the rate recorded in February 2016.
The nation's unemployment rate in February was 4.7 percent, slightly lower than the 4.8 percent rate in January and 4.9 percent rate in February 2016.
For the second consecutive month, the state's unemployment rate was lower than the national rate.
In February, there were 25,000 unemployed residents, residents classified as actively seeking employment, in the state; this is a 1,200-person drop from the revised January figure and a decrease of 4,800 people since February 2016.
Non-farm jobs totaled 495,200 in February - a gain of 2,200 jobs from the revised January figure and an increase of 5,900 from the year-to-year comparison. Since the beginning of 2017, the state has added 3,900 jobs.
The number of employed Rhode Islanders was 527,200 in February, an increase of 2,300 from January's revised measurement and 4,800 higher than February 2016.
Rhode Island's labor force was measured at 552,200 in February, which rose by 1,200 people from January and is unchanged from February 2016.
In February, unemployment insurance benefits were collected by 15,087 individuals, or 54.4 percent of the state's total unemployed, which is a decrease of 175 people over the year.
The Bay State's unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points from its revised January rate to 3.4 percent in February, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Since February 2016, Massachusetts' unemployment rate has fallen 0.9 percentage points.
Below is an industry-specific analysis of Rhode Island's unemployment figures from February and how they compare with January 2017 and February 2016.
Construction: 700 jobs were added over the month in February which reflects a 2,200-job increase from February 2016. Jobs in this sector have topped 20,000 for the first time since September 2008.
Other Services: 400 jobs were added over the month, which marks a 100-job increase year over year
Accommodation & Food Services: 300 jobs were gained over the month in February; jobs increased 1,100 over the year
Health Care & Social Assistance: 300 jobs were gained in February from January, which reflects a 1,100-job increase from February 2016
Transportation & Utilities: 300 jobs were gained over the month in February; there was a 100-job increase year over year
Wholesale Trade: 300 jobs were gained over the month in February, and 200 jobs over the year
Professional & Business Services: 200 jobs were added in February compared with January, and 1,900 jobs were added year over year
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation: 100 jobs were added over the month in February; jobs grew 1,100 from February 2016
Government: 100 jobs were added over the month in February, which marks a 200-job increase from February 2016
Mining & Logging: 100 jobs were added both over the month and over the year
Educational Services: 300 jobs were lost over the month in February; 400 jobs were lost since February 2016
Financial Activities: 100 jobs were lost over the month in February; year over year, jobs declined by 400
Manufacturing: 100 jobs were dropped over the month in February, and there were 800 fewer jobs compared with February 2016
Retail Trade: 100 jobs were lost both over the month and over the year in February
Information: The job count remained unchanged in February, but 500 jobs were lost over the year
Production workers in the manufacturing industry earned $18.60 per hour in February, an increase of 20 cents from January and 97 cents from February 2016. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.1 hours per week in February, a loss of 0.3 hours from January, but a gain of 0.8 hours from February 2016.]]>
"Trumpcare would mean less coverage, fewer protections and higher costs for all Rhode Islanders, and worse yet, some of the most vulnerable communities in our state would be hurt the most," Raimondo said in a statement.
Raimondo outlined at a late morning press conference how the health care proposal released earlier this month by congressional Republicans would adversely affect the elderly, low-income residents and families in the state.
She said she hears concerns about Trumpcare daily from residents about what it may mean for them.
"What I tell them is what I've been saying since November - that we will stand up and fight for Rhode Islanders to make sure that no matter what happens at the federal level, people in our state have access to the care they need," Raimondo said.
Members of Rhode Island's congressional delegation also affirmed their commitment to ensuring that Rhode Islanders have access to quality, affordable health care.
U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin said "tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders will lose health coverage if the Republican-led American Health Care Act becomes law."
Raimondo, in her statement, said the Affordable Care Act is working in Rhode Island, noting the uninsured rate in the state dropped to 4.2 percent from nearly 12 percent five years ago.
Expanded Medicaid access also resulted in coverage for approximately 70,000 adults who previously did not have coverage. More than 30,000 Rhode Islanders are insured through HealthSource RI, 90 percent of whom receive federal subsidies to make coverage more affordable, according to information from the governor's office. HSRI is the state's health benefits exchange
According to Raimondo, Trumpcare in Rhode Island would:
Increase costs for older adults buying standard coverage through HealthSource RI by as much as $3,700 per year
Put as many as 8,000 Rhode Island jobs at risk
Eliminate $8 million a year in federal funding for public health work
Put treatment for 2,500 people with opioid-use disorder at risk
Providence resident John Jacobson credited the ACA with saving his life. He said he is worried that he will no longer be able to afford leukemia medication if the ACA is repealed.
"When I was at my darkest hour, Rhode Island stood by me and brought me back to health, and I will never forget that," Jacobson said in prepared remarks. "This would not have been possible without the passage of the Affordable Care Act. I urge Congress to work on making the ACA better with a focus on reducing costs."
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to vote today on the American Health Care Act.]]>
Rhode Island, at 24th, ranked higher than Vermont and Maine, which came in at 28th and 42nd on WalletHub's latest list released Thursday of the "Most and Least Innovative States."
The list includes Washington, D.C., which captured the No. 1 spot, followed by Maryland and Massachusetts. Connecticut came in at No. 9, with New Hampshire at No. 10.
The least innovative state on the list? West Virginia.
The financial website said it looked at how innovative states are to find out how much they've contributed to America's "innovative" success, in light of President Donald Trump "proposing the deepest budget cuts to federal research and development in history" for fiscal 2018.
Eighteen metrics were used, from the share of science, technology, engineering and math professionals, and research and design spending per capita to share of technology companies, tax friendliness based on Tax Foundation data, eighth-grade math and science performance, and high school advanced placement exam participation.
Rhode Island was noted for having the fourth-highest average Internet speed in the nation, behind Washington, D.C., Delaware and Massachusetts.
Massachusetts was among the top five in the following categories: Highest share of STEM professionals (No. 4); highest projected STEM-job demand by 2020 (No. 5); best eighth-grade math and science performance (No. 4); highest R&D spending per capita (No. 2); and it tied for first place in highest venture-capital funding per capita.]]>
Bill Fischer, spokesman for building owner David Sweetser of High Rock Development, said hosting a fundraiser in the building is not a new strategy for Sweetser.
He said Sweetser has continued to let civic organizations use the building at 111 Westminster St. downtown for events, naming Leadership Rhode Island and the Providence Preservation Society as some entities that have used it. Fischer said Sweetser also does not charge a fee for organizations to use the building.
"He believes it is important for members of the public to continue to have access to the building," Fischer wrote in an email on Thursday.
The 26-story building, built in 1927, is the tallest in the state. It has been closed since 2013 when Bank of America Corp. left the art deco tower.
The Wilbury Group's event will begin with "an exclusive sponsor and VIP cocktail reception where guests will experience sunset views from the 25th floor."
At the event, the Kerry Callery Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts will be presented to Charles and Cheryle Cavalconte of Bristol for their support of theater in Rhode Island.
Proceeds will support The Wilbury Theatre Group in its mission to provide Providence with affordable and accessible performing arts through its education and public outreach programs.
General admission tickets are $75 per person. VIP tickets are $120 per person and offer access to the 25th floor sunset reception. Spots are limited for the VIP reception and can be purchased online and are complimentary for sponsors. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available at thewilburygroup.org/revel.
More than half of owners - 52 percent - of mid-sized companies believe economic conditions will improve in the coming year compared with 34 percent before the election.
"The election results added more fuel to a positive outlook for mergers and acquisitions among middle market U.S. companies this year," Bob Rubino, executive vice president and head of Corporate Finance and Capital Markets at Citizens Commercial Banking, said in a statement. "Some CEOs are still in wait-and-see mode, but they are optimistic about possible changes that could improve their bottom lines and generate more deal-making opportunities."
A follow-up survey was conducted last month, from Feb. 1-13, to gauge business leaders' sentiment; 200 U.S.-based middle market decision-makers were queried who are engaged in some kind of corporate development activity. They were among the 600 executives polled in the original 2017 Citizens Commercial Banking Middle Market M&A Outlook Study.
It found that 38 percent of leaders thought the election would boost what the previous Citizens Outlook Study revealed were high expectations for mergers and acquisitions activity this year. That study was conducted in September and October and released in December.
Middle market companies have annual revenue between $5 million and $2 billion, and are considered to be key job creators and drivers of economic activity in the United States, according to Citizens Commercial Banking, which said it serves thousands of middle-market clients across the country.
Other findings from the latest survey:
Among middle market business owners, 71 percent anticipate lower health care costs to their business in coming years and 68 percent expect fewer federal regulations.
Seventy percent expect lower corporate tax rates while 54 percent anticipate lower individual tax rates and 39 percent expect capital gains tax rates to decrease.
Twenty-two percent of business owners are even more likely to engage in M&A activity this year following the election.
The percentage of survey respondents who expect a significant financial crisis in the next three years fell to 41 percent from 48 percent.]]>
Jobless claims increased by 15,000 to 258,000 in the week ended March 18, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 240,000. On an unadjusted basis, applications jumped in Ohio and Kansas.
Even with the pickup in claims last week, hiring managers have been slow to dismiss workers as the labor market tightens and job vacancies become harder to fill with skilled and experienced employees. Companies also have been adding to payrolls at a healthy pace and gradually increasing wages.
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 220,000 to 255,000. The Labor Department revised the prior week's reading to 243,000 from an initially reported 241,000.
Thursday's report also included annual revisions for both initial and continuing claims back through 2012. The latest reading marked 80 straight weeks of filings below 300,000, the level economists consider consistent with a healthy labor market. Before the annual revisions, the streak had been at 106 weeks.
No states were estimated last week and there was nothing unusual in the data, according to the Labor Department. In Ohio, applications climbed 4,260 before seasonal adjustment, while jobless claims in Kansas increased by 2,774.
The four-week average for all jobless claims rose to 240,000 from 239,000 in the prior week.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits decreased by 39,000 to 2 million in the week ended March 11. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits dropped to 1.4 percent from 1.5 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.]]>
The company will keep its headquarters in Radnor, Pa. It also has an office in San Diego.
Pryor said eMoney has not yet signed a lease for a downtown location, and has not said when it expects to open the office.
"This new tech company is choosing Rhode Island over other jurisdictions," Pryor said. "This is an expansion for them."
EMoney CEO Ed O'Brien said in a statement that the company chose Providence because of its geographical location in the Northeast, as well as "the talent network created by several local universities and other tech companies, the recruiting resources provided by the R.I. Department of Labor, and the economic opportunities offered by R.I. Commerce Corp."
On Friday, the R.I. Commerce Corp. Investment Committee will meet at 11:15 a.m. at the Commerce RI offices to consider eMoney Advisor's application for incentives under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit program and First Wave Closing Fund program. The committee will decide whether to recommend the request to the full Commerce RI board, which has its regular meeting on Monday night, Pryor said.
The company will not attend Friday's meeting, Pryor said.
Pryor said that eMoney is specifically being offered up to $3.2 million in Qualified Jobs tax credits and approximately $100,000 in First Wave Closing Fund monies.
An economic impact analysis is still being finalized, but Pryor said the project is estimated to yield more than $4.5 million in new state tax revenue over 12 years. The analysis also is estimating that the state's annual gross domestic product will increase by $26 million in a way that's attributable to eMoney, Pryor said.
Pryor explained that the Qualified Jobs tax credit program enables Commerce RI to pledge back to a company the personal income taxes generated by the new jobs they produce. First Wave, according to the Commerce RI website, "provides lynchpin financing unavailable from other sources to close transactions of a critical or catalytic nature."
Pryor said officials are excited about eMoney, noting it is joining other tech businesses that have chosen Providence, companies such as GE Digital, Virgin Pulse and Johnson & Johnson, which plans to open a health technology center.
"This is an enormously encouraging trend," Pryor said.
Also on the agenda for Friday's meeting is consideration of an amended application for Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits for the Case-Mead Building redevelopment. In February 2016 Commerce RI authorized $2.2 million in Rebuild Rhode Island credits for the rehabilitation of the 1859 structure at 68-76 Dorrance St., based on a total project cost of $7.7 million.
The plan was designed to include first-floor commercial space and apartments in the upper four floors. The project, which was being undertaken by Case Mead Associates LLC was granted $1.25 million in state historic rehabilitation tax credits in June. Currently the Case-Mead Building is being managed by former Providence Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr.
The agenda item for Friday's meeting says that the total development cost has increased to $11.1 million.
Also scheduled to take place at the meeting is consideration of an application for First Wave Closing Fund credits by Wexford Science & Technology LLC, but no details were given on the agenda, and the committee indicated that it may go into executive session to consider that request.]]>