McKee releases R.I. 2030 recommendations; public input sought

GOV. DANIEL J. MCKEE released his administration's preliminary recommendations from its Rhode Island 2030 sessions, which explored potential areas of investment of the state's federal pandemic funds.

PROVIDENCE – Gov. Daniel J. McKee on Friday released his working recommendations from his Rhode Island 2030 effort, a policy framework designed to guide the state’s investments into the next decade using federal pandemic funds.

The report was based on 13 community discussions and input from government agencies.

It contains dozens of both short-term and long-term recommendations for the state’s future on topics such as small-business support, education, workforce development, housing, economic growth strategies, public health policy, climate change and infrastructure and transportation. Each section also outlines the community feedback the initiative heard from stakeholders at its virtual community discussions, as well as information on current state initiatives in each sector addressed.

The initiative will now go through public review, conducted in partnership with the University of Rhode Island, the URI Research Foundation and faculty from other institutions in Rhode Island.

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Public sessions will beheld around the state from late October through early November. They begin on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. at Harry Kizirian Elementary School in Providence. Another session will be held Oct. 28, at Hope & Main, 691 Main Street, Warren.

“As Rhode Island emerges from a once-in-a-century public health crisis, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a more resilient, prosperous, and equitable state for all. Making the most of this opportunity will require a collaborative effort to address not only the issues caused by the pandemic, but also those that existed long before,” said McKee in the report.

The state is expecting $1.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding. McKee is recommending that the state spend approximately $113 million of that money on aid to small businesses, with the rest set aside for longer-term needs identified in the 2030 report.

The report’s small-business goals and recommendations:

The report says that the state should aim to increase Community Development Financial Institutions Fund funding for small businesses, increase the number of minority-owned businesses and make the state easy and predictable to operate in.

In regards to specific actions the government should take to aid small businesses, the report’s short term recommendations included actively supporting COVID-19-impacted industries, evaluating rule changes caused by the pandemic to see if they can be maintained into the future, the funding of direct and technical assistance programming for businesses, and an increase in marketing efforts to revitalize tourism, and business travel in  the state.

The report also contained nine long-term recommendations for the state’s small-business strategy, including:

  • Expanding access to capital in the state, including attracting or founding CDFIs
  • Expanding the state’s workforce development programs
  • The exploration of alternative health care models, such as health insurance cooperatives
  • The digitization of governmental assistance and services
  • Encouraging retiring business owners to explore employee ownership takeovers, 
  • The increase of access to local businesses to federal, state and local contracts 
  • Creating a taxpayer advocate position to aid small businesses in navigating the state’s tax administrative process.

The report’s workforce development goals and recommendations included:

  • Expansion of the real Jobs RI program, with a focus on the Blue Economy and bioscience sectors.
  • Commit funding for formerly incarcerated residents through Real Jobs RI
  • Facilitate relations between higher education and industry clusters
  • Perform research on the state’s economy to understand areas of growth and need
  • Identify employees at risk of losing work to automation and provide training programs to prepare them for new lines of work.


The report outlines a series of investments and policies designed to lessen the housing supply shortage in the state including a statewide housing plan, a target level of housing production.

Recommendations included increasing the availability and ease of applying for financing for projects that would increase the housing stock, explore ways in which commercial spaces can be converted into housing, supporting workforce development programs in the home building field, and the increase in funding for affordable housing, including for the purchase or development of properties. The program also identified ways in which the state can lessen the racial gap in home ownership.

“We have a chance to define our future by leveraging federal aid and state dollars to create a state that promotes equity, lifts up and supports our small businesses, invests in our families, and much more” said Lt. Gov. Sabina A. Matos in a statement. “However, we can’t do this in a vacuum – we all have a role to play. With this proposed framework, all Rhode Islanders can have a say in how we move our state forward to create a more equitable and inclusive future for all of us.”

Other recommendations contained in the report can be found online. Information on the public sessions may be found here.

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