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PODCAST: Legislature, EDC at War Over Reorganization

Monday, November 25, 2013


Ron Talked with GoLocalProv.com's Kate Nagle about the State Legislature and Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation's war over reorganization and how it could cost the state millions.


Related Slideshow: From the EDC to Commerce Corporation

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, which was created in 1995, is slated to be replaced with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation as of January 2014.

Below is an overview of the formation of the EDC, the fallout of 38 Studios, and the recommendation -- and approval -- of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to take its place.  

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EDC Formation

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) was created in 1995 with a "mission to strengthen the Rhode Island economy through policies, programs, and projects, which enhance and enrich the business environment for public and private sectors in order to create prosperity for all Rhode Islanders."

Annual Budget: $19,400,000

Total Personnel: 81

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EDC Responsibilities

According to the Secretary of State, RIEDC "works with new and existing business to improve their competitiveness, train their workers, clear away barriers and provide the resources they need to grow and prosper.  [RIEDC works to] research, introduce and promote legislation and programs to make Rhode Island a more hospitable state for starting and expanding a business."

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38 Studios -- Beginning

RIEDC issues $75 million in taxable revenue bonds to finance Curt Schilling's 38 Studios, LLC. in November 2010. Governor Chafee takes office in January 2011 and appoints Keith Stokes to Director.

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38 Studios -- Fallout

RIEDC holds an emergency closed door meeting May 2012 in light of failing 38 Studios , Executive Director Keith Stokes is fired.  

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RIPEC Recommendation

The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council issues a report in September 2012 calling for "systemic and internal restructuring" -- and for the formation of the Commerce Corporation to take the place of the current EDC.  

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Valois Takes Helm

Chafee nominates former EDC Director Marcel Valois to replace interim Director William Parsons in April 2013.  Valois served at the post once before, from 1995 to 1997.

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GA Approves Overhaul

The General Assembly approves four pieces of legislation to "move Rhode Island's economy forward and reform the state's economic development structures" during the 2013 session. 

Governor Lincoln Chafee allows three of the four bills to become law without his signature, signs a fourth bill


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