Chafee hears concerns of business owners

Gov. Lincoln Chafee launched a statewide business development tour Tuesday. He's taking time out of his schedule to meet with local entrepreneurs and business owners in Rhode Island to discuss available state resources and answer any questions.

Dozens turned out to the first session in Cumberland, including Maria Takuma of Harmony Design and Construction. She said it's difficult to stay afloat in towns surrounding Providence.

"We have we only have taxes, more taxes and more taxes we don't have much help as business owners," Takuma said.

She's had to move her business to Providence to take advantage of assistance offered to Hispanic business owners. She said the same resources aren't readily available in Cumberland.

"I hope some help will come from this," Takuma said.

According to a recent Brown University poll, Takuma is not alone in her lack of confidence in state government. Released last week, the poll showed 94 percent of Rhode Islanders say the state's economy is "not good" or "poor."

Chafee said he isn't paying any attention to those concerns.

"That poll showed a tremendous lack of confidence in government, but when they went to vote on bond issues at the polls they showed a lot of confidence," Chafee said.

While Chafee didn't mention any specific pieces of legislation that will be enacted as a result of the forums, he did say "measurable progress will be made from these meetings."

The next forum is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Coventry.