Gubernatorial candidates discuss plans to grow, sustain Rhode Island’s economy
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates will take the stage Thursday to answer questions on how they plan to help grow and sustain the state’s economy, as well as support local businesses.
During the forum, Democrat Helena Buonanno Foulkes called on a 20-year plan to turn the education system around in the state.
This comes just a week after many Providence students opened up the new school year without a permanent teacher in their classroom.
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said the state needs to tap into its existing assets and build its economy from within, including making housing more affordable and affordable healthcare for working families.
When asked what he would title a hypothetical TED Talk on the state of Rhode Island’s economy a year from now, Gov. Dan Mckee said, “Momentum.”
“We are investing in the people in the state of Rhode Island. We are going to be raising people’s income,” McKee said.
Also at the forum, Gorbea proposed raising taxes on big corporations and using that money on education. ” Nearly 90% of businesses in RI wouldn’t be affected,” she added.
Foulkes fired back in response to Gorbea’s tax plan.
“She keeps saying it’s a 1% tax on large corporations. But it’s also a domestic profit corporation,” Foulkes said.
Greater Providence Chamber President Laurie White asked McKee if he would commit to meeting with the 10 largest employers in the state.
“Yeah, of course. We can work with large businesses and small businesses,” McKee said. He also added that, if elected, he would lower the state’s sales tax.
All candidates were asked if they are in favor or opposed to appropriating the $100 million the state received to advance the blue economy.
Ashley Kalus, who said she would re-appropriate, added that the state “needs to invest in the blue economy.”
Whereas McKee said he would invest in a portion of it, adding that he asked the General Assembly to invest in it to lower energy bills by at least 4%.
The governor said the rest he says will be invested in the economy “wherever it makes sense.”
Luis Daniel Muñoz said, “Absolutely I think we should have more funding.”
He asked how that money would get deployed and cited issues in the state such as the Lighthouse Inn in Narragansett.
Gorbea weighed in and said that the state must double down and invest in the blue economy.
“I’m a big believer in investing in our assets,” she said.
The secretary of state added that Rhode Island is the Ocean State, saying, “We must double down and invest in our blue economy.”
Foulkes is open to re-appropriating the $100 million. She said the lead portion of the economic plan is on the blue economy.
“We have to invest in our greatest assets,”said Foulkes.
Matt Brown said he will consider it but also have to look at other federal funds.