Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Linc-O-Meter

Direct Economic Development Corporation to develop library for small businesses to help them make business decisions

Chafee has pledged to direct the EDC to “create a library of information to allow small businesses to have access to the same information large businesses have in making business decisions. ... These databases are usually only financially available to large businesses, leaving small businesses at a disadvantage. This approach has doubled the number of jobs and tripled sales tax revenues in similar businesses where it has been implemented."


Updates

Nearly three years later, still no library for small businesses

As Election Day approached in 2010, Governor Chafee issued a news release titled "Lincoln Chafee highlights specifics of jobs plan that will spur economic growth."  Among other things, Chafee "pledged to direct" the state Economic Development Corporation to "create a library of information to allow small businesses to have access to the same information large businesses have in making business decisions."

The Oct. 24, 2010, news release stated that, "These databases are usually only financially available to large businesses, leaving small businesses at a disadvantage. This approach has doubled the number of jobs and tripled sales tax revenues in similar businesses where it has been implemented."

Since nearly three years have passed, we figured it was high time we checked out the Chafee library. We weren't sure whether we'd find a trove of online economic data or a single dog-eared copy of Donald Trump's "The Art of the Deal." But in any case, where do we go?

We first asked the governor's office about the library on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. A week later, we were still waiting for an answer. We figured there were two possible explanations for the delay: Either all of the library's rich collection had been checked out by Rhode Island's small business community, or there was no library.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013,Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said, "We have not done it."

Marcel Valois, who became EDC director in May, will look into the proposal, Hunsinger said. "If it's something worth doing, he will do it," she said. "He will look at whether it would be an effective use of limited resources and staff time. Some of it is data access, and he will look at whether or not small businesses need that data more than they need other services that EDC can provide."

Hunsinger said Chafee has kept "quite a few" of the promises tracked by PolitiFact Rhode Island. But, she said, "This one has not been done."

Our ruling

Governor Chafee "pledged to direct" the EDC to "create a library of information to allow small businesses to have access to the same information large businesses have in making business decisions." Nearly three years later, his spokeswoman said, "We have not done it." Clearly, it's a Promise Broken.

Sources:

Interview, Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, 2013.

Chafee for Governor news release, "Lincoln Chafee highlights specifics of jobs plan that will spur economic growth," Oct. 24, 2010.