NSI News

Opportunity in Ocean State

Our current economic problems have hit some states more profoundly than others. My small home state of Rhode Island continues to suffer and those without jobs have few opportunities.

While unemployment hovers at nearly 13 percent, Governor Don Carcieri submitted a plan to cut millions of dollars in funding for local governments and schools, charge new bridge tolls, and increase fees for motorists in an effort to cope with a massive budget deficit. A story in the Boston Globe reported the plan would eliminate about $135 million in state support for cities and towns and cut millions meant to support local school districts. Carcieri cited the unemployment rate as a reason for the cuts.

This news comes just two weeks after state officials disclosed that they have spent less than half of the federal stimulus dollars earmarked for Rhode Island a year ago. The Providence Journal reported that the state has received $1.26 billion of the $787-billion package, but has only spent more than $551 million, largely to plug budget holes. Another $55 million has been assigned to various projects.The stimulus package was designed to help fix just the sort of problems Rhode Island has. The truth is, the state has not put enough resources and time into getting more of their money out the door. But officials appear to be making an effort to step up. And the private sector can do the same.
Some in private industry may write off small states as not worth their time to look into possible partnerships to make use of stimulus funds. But they should know that navigating bureaucracy in a small state can be much easier and more fruitful. And, once engaged, if the partnership is successful, the benefits often continue via word of mouth between the leadership of the state and their colleagues in other states. New companies in particular might do well to break into the government market via a small state such as Rhode Island, where new ideas and technologies might get more attention and receptivity.

Rhode Island can be a place of opportunity, and sometimes opportunities born in difficult times can lead to brilliant results and partnerships. There is no more beautiful and resilient state in the nation – don’t ignore it because it is small.

 

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For more information, please contact Heather Sabharwal at hsabharwal@kglobal.com or 202-349-7016.