Sen. Pearson updates constituents; seeks ideas

Sen. Pearson updates constituents; seeks ideas

As we begin 2018, I cannot help but think that 2017 was a year of good momentum for our state. While we will always have challenges to overcome and more work to do, I recently came across some news articles during the 2012 election cycle when you first placed your confidence in me to represent you at the Statehouse. As I read those articles, it is easy to forget what a different state we were and how much deeper our problems were. Unemployment was a national leader, we had no strategy for economic development and we had no plan to help Rhode Islanders get the skills and education needed to find a good paying job. I said then and I still believe by working together we can continue to move our state forward and in fact we must.

Fast forward to just these past few months where we saw Virgin Pulse relocate its global headquarters to Providence, Infosys announce plans to build a 500 employee innovation center, T.F. Green Airport continue to add new airlines and new direct flights and the ribbon cutting of a new nursing education center through a partnership between Brown, URI and RIC. This string of news is emblematic of where I believe we can continue to make progress.

These actions were spurned by several years of enacting new policies like corporate tax reform, investing in infrastructure, eliminating the business tax on energy, reforming our unemployment insurance, creating new job training programs and investing in our education system.

As I think about 2018, this work will continue but specific areas need attention.

Our education system remains inequitably funded and in need of a catalyst to drive student achievement gains.

Our sales tax remains as one of the narrowest bases nationally and an uncompetitive rate. Our budget is now showing areas of risk due to some poor decisions made in this past budget; we must learn from those mistakes and not repeat them in 2018.

We also need to fine tune our economic strategy to not only continue creating new jobs but also work to raise wages for all jobs.

Year 2018 can be a year we make additional progress, however, I need your help and ideas. We have a lot of issues to tackle so if you have an idea please reach out and share via

Recently a business in Cumberland asked for a repeal of a burdensome tax on their industry. The tax dated back to 1984 and has never been used for the intended purposes. This is a perfect example of something I would have never known about so please do let me know your ideas or concerns.

Sen. Ryan Pearson