State Rep. Ken Marshall is hoping to revitalize Rhode Island’s economy by designating the entire state as an enterprise zone.
In legislation he filed Jan. 29 (2014-H7209), all businesses in Rhode Island would get enterprise-zone tax breaks. The designation would last five years, or until the state’s unemployment rate matches the national average, whichever is sooner.
“With the highest unemployment rate in the nation, our whole state needs a boost of economic development. We need to make sure every city and town in Rhode Island has all the economic development tools possible at their disposal when meeting with both existing businesses as well as new businesses seeking to expand job opportunities with Rhode Island,” said Rep. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren).
The legislation says the level of distress all over the state has reached a point where the whole state qualifies to be classified as an enterprise zone.
“Since the great recession of 2008, certain distressed areas in this state characterized by substantial and persistent levels of unemployment, blighted areas, obsolete, dilapidated and abandoned industrial and commercial structures have increased to the point where these conditions constitute a statewide condition,” the legislation says.
Enterprise zones are distressed areas designated as being in particular need of business development, in which businesses can earn tax incentives by expanding or hiring, particularly if they hire employees who live within the zone.