Rhode Island Manufacturers Association
1997 - 2012
The Unified Voice of Manufacturing in Rhode Island
In 2012, the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association worked hard delivering the message that our State needs to create an environment and climate that is more business friendly. Education, workforce training and closing the manufacturing skills gap were also some of our primary focal points. From a legislative standpoint, our 2012 accomplishments included:
- Ensuring that there were no broad-based increases in taxes statewide that would negatively impact manufacturers. This included opposition to numerous bills that would increase the income tax rates on individuals as well as the proposal to expand sales taxes to freight, moving and storage.
- We played integral roles in the regulatory reform bill (requiring review of all existing regulations by the Office of Regulatory Reform), as well as the electronic plan review that will make it easier to do business in RI.
- We supported key elements of the municipal pension reform package that will help rein in escalating costs.
We have also ensured that our voices are heard on the national level in Washington, D.C. Our outgoing Chairman, Al Lubrano, serves as a member of the Board and Steering Committees of the National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Industry Trade Advisory Committee. Effective January 1, 2013, he will assume the role of Chair of NAM’s Small and Medium Manufacturers Group.
We are deeply concerned about continued poor rankings regarding business competitiveness and our extremely high unemployment rate. RIMA’s 2013 legislative package has been developed and includes specific issues such as bi-weekly pay, flexible holiday schedules, more effective use of job development fund dollars and eliminating the internship / apprentice age limitation. We remain focused on the much-needed regulatory reform initiatives. We will continue to focus on our vigilant stand against new and/or escalating taxes and regulation, as well as working toward aggressive cost-cutting at the state and local level. We worry about the impact of Rhode Island’s huge deficits, the growing pension / post-retirement benefit obligations and how these affect tax policy, the business climate and quality of life in our state.
As an organization, we have made great progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done. RIMA needs your support to continue our progress in achieving our goal to legislate Rhode Island into the top quartile amongst states nationwide in terms of manufacturing competitiveness. If you would like to meet with me to discuss our accomplishments and our current objectives, please feel free to contact me at 401.751.0160 or email me at email@example.com. Together we can and will continue to make a difference for manufacturers both large and small across the State of Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association is a nonprofit, member-driven association created to enhance the ability of Rhode Island manufacturers to compete effectively and profitably in local, national and global markets by legislating Rhode Island into the top quartile among states in terms of manufacturing competitiveness. RIMA’s goal is to serve as the unified voice of the state’s manufacturing sector. RIMA will educate and influence the public, the media, and government officials regarding the important contribution a strong manufacturing base makes to our local, national and global economies. RIMA continuously strives to improve the business climate in which our members operate and the workforce our members employ, for the express purpose of delivering tangible bottom-line benefits.
RIMA is committed to a future in which Rhode Island stands as a model of successful partnership between a state’s government and its manufacturing community. RIMA is dedicated to developing an energetic, positive business climate that retains existing businesses, while also attracting new businesses and capital. RIMA is dedicated to raising the level of awareness of manufacturing’s importance as the foundation of Rhode Island’s economic prosperity.
It was a different era, but less than thirty years ago, the United States was the world's unchallenged economic leader. Rhode Island's industrial sector played an important role in that leadership. In those days, competitors were more likely to be down the street than around the globe. Well-trained and highly motivated employees were plentiful. Although manufacturers operated with some governmental constraints, DEM, EPA, or OSHA (and their bureaucracies and mountains of paperwork) had yet to be founded. Manufacturers were still able to offer employees and their families a wonderful standard of living. Merely being in business seemed a guarantee of profitability.
Times have changed. In today's global marketplace, manufacturers must compete with other countries, many of which offer lower costs and competitive quality. Our own fifty states are each scrambling to strengthen their industrial sectors in order to insure their own economic survival. Unfortunately, Rhode Island has not been a leader in this movement. On the contrary, other states beckon Rhode Island manufacturers to move their plants to greener pastures.
As a result of an uninformed, sometimes lethargic public sector, Rhode Island's industrial base has shrunk dramatically in the last two decades and continues to shrink today. The loss of these wealth-producing entities is increasing the tax burden on the remaining companies and their employees. Unfortunately, few legislators seem to understand the effect of this loss of economic vitality and its impact on Rhode Island's quality of life. It seems they do not appreciate the importance of manufacturers who add value, create wealth, and fuel the economic engines of our society.
Many manufacturers believe this must change and change soon. That is why a number of us, each a president, division manager, or owner of his or her own manufacturing company, formed the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association. At a recent meeting of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, Ed Roberts of the Indiana Manufacturers Association stated: "Those states that have dedicated manufacturing associations are the states that are proving to be the most successful in growing and retaining manufacturing businesses."
In 1997, Rhode Island's manufacturers transformed what had been an informal effort into an incorporated organization by establishing the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, RIMA. Today, maintaining a strong presence as a permanent part of our state's economic landscape, the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association employs an executive director, a staff dedicated to workforce development, a professional marketing and communications firm, and a lobbying firm representing the interests of manufacturing in the legislature and other halls of government.
In 2003, the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association established a partnership with the RI Manufacturing Institute, reinforcing their mutual commitment to workforce development. As a result, RIMA has grown to represent more than three hundred companies statewide employing a workforce of more than 20,000 across the state. Working collaboratively, manufacturing workforce development initiatives will be enhanced as well as training for diversified industries throughout the state.
Our efforts focus solely on those issues that affect manufacturing. Our campaign for change is, and will continue to be, based on facts and research. It is low-key, but effective. Much of the work is performed behind the scenes and directed at educating the public sector and our state government about manufacturing in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association is committed to bringing long-term benefits to manufacturers, and ultimately, to all the people of Rhode Island.