Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah this afternoon, where he will join with the majority of his fellow Governors from across the country for the National Governors Association’s (NGA) 103rd Annual Meeting.
The conference, which takes place Friday through Sunday, will feature meetings of the NGA’s standing committees, including the Education, Early Childhood & Workforce Committee, of which Governor Chafee is a member. It is also an opportunity for Governors to network with their counterparts from other states and take part in formal and informal discussions on the issues facing state governments and their chief executives.
Governor Chafee plans to use the conference as a forum to advocate for the Main Street Fairness Act, which is currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate. The Act would help local businesses keep jobs in Rhode Island by requiring their online competitors to collect sales tax – just as bricks-and-mortar businesses must. Rhode Island will lose out on a projected $70.4 million in tax revenue this fiscal year as a result of the current discrepancy between bricks-and-mortar businesses, who are required to charge sales tax, and online retailers, who are not. Governor Chafee and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee have launched an effort urging Governors to lobby their U.S. Senators to pass Main Street Fairness this year.
Friday’s opening plenary session will focus on the vital role universities play in nurturing innovation and economic growth – a topic directly related to Governor Chafee’s commitment to bringing new high-paying jobs to Rhode Island by developing the land opened up by the relocation of Route 195 in Providence into a medical, life-sciences, and research hub. Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and John Seely Brown, visiting scholar and advisor to the provost at the University of Southern California and former chief scientist at the Xerox Corporation, will add their expertise to the discussion.
Later that day, a unique peer-to-peer exchange will take place during the U.S.-China Governors Forum. The forum is designed to strengthen a subnational dialogue between the two countries and will focus on topics of mutual interest.
Saturday's business agenda begins with a special stand-alone session of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee, featuring a discussion of international trade and investment's role in domestic economic growth and job creation. Following the session, the Governors will meet with members of their respective standing committees: Health and Human Services; Natural Resources; and Education, Early Childhood and Workforce, as well as a Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety.
On Sunday, the Governors will meet for a closing plenary session. New York Times columnist and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Tom Friedman will discuss the global challenges facing America today and the role education plays in U.S. competitiveness.
Governor Chafee will return to Rhode Island on Sunday.
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation's governors and one of Washington, D.C.'s, most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit www.nga.org.