Rep. Shekarchi and Sen. Walaska’s ‘Premium Jobs Initiative’ signed into law

Press Conference

STATE HOUSE – Rep. K. Joseph Shekarchi and Sen. William A. Walaska’s ‘Premium Jobs Initiative’ (2016-H 8058A / 2016-S 3012A) was signed into law today by Governor Gina M. Raimondo at a ceremonial bill signing in the State Room of the State House. The legislation encourages insurance companies to create jobs in Rhode Island by linking Rhode Island’s insurance premium tax rate to the number of jobs created by the industry in Rhode Island. Adding new jobs in the state will trigger a reduction in the tax rate insurance companies will pay. Most importantly, the tax rate reduction is designed to be revenue-neutral by requiring that the reduction in insurance company tax rates is fully offset by the income tax generated from the newly created jobs.

“This initiative will incentivize large out-of-state insurers to move jobs or entire operations to Rhode Island in order to share in these savings. The more jobs the insurers bring to our state, the greater the savings these companies will see and Rhode Island’s economy will see a powerful boost and many more high-paying jobs for our citizens,” said Representative Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick).

“The legislation is an innovative change to Rhode Island law that will bring more jobs to our state without any budgetary impact to the taxpayers. I’m proud that Rhode Island is the first state in the country to create such a bold and impactful initiative to grow our economy,” said Senator Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick).

«‘Make it in Rhode Island’ isn’t just a slogan. With these pieces of legislation, we’re making sure that insurance companies will be able to thrive and create jobs, right here in our state,» said Governor Raimondo. «These bills will play an important part in revitalizing the economy and transforming Rhode Island into the next great hub of innovation and enterprise.»

Representative Shekarchi and Senator Walaska partnered with the Department of Business Regulation to craft the innovative legislation. By leveraging the strength of Rhode Island’s renowned insurance industry, the initiative will attract new, high-quality insurance jobs to Rhode Island at absolutely no cost to the state’s taxpayers. Currently, the Finance and Insurance industry is the third-highest paying sector in the state, with an average wage of approximately $92,000 and employing nearly 30,000 Rhode Islanders.

Rep. K. Joseph Shekarchi, left, Governor Gina M. Raimondo, center, and Sen. William A. Walaska, right, at a ceremonial bill signing of their ‘Premium Jobs Initiative’ in the State Room of the State House