RI tackles red tape in the name of job creation

By ERIKA NIEDOWSKI | July 17, 2011 | 12:14 PM EDT

In this July 15, 2011 photo, Newport Tent employee Ronnie Edelen uses a gasoline-powered "Ponjaur" hammer to drive the corner stakes for a 40x60 foot wedding tent at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, R.I. Small business owners, the backbone of the Rhode Island economy, say burdensome rules and regulations cost them time and money. Now, the state is making a concerted push to do what’s all the rage in Washington, D.C.: regulatory reform. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Officials in Rhode Island are trying to roll back red tape in an effort to jumpstart job creation in the economically troubled state.

Keith Stokes, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, said he has heard a "consistent outcry" from small business owners about the need to streamline the regulatory process.

Last year, the General Assembly approved a package of bills aimed at making it easier for firms to do business in the state. And former Gov. Donald Carcieri (kuh-CHEHR'-ee) signed an executive order establishing an office whose aim is to improve regulatory procedures — and help businesses navigate them.

One ambulance company from Dartmouth, Mass., that wanted to expand into Rhode Island last year nearly gave up, saying the process had officials' heads spinning.