Economy, jobs top the state’s legislative agenda

The Rhode Island State House in Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Legislative leaders say the top priority for the new session is reviving the state’s listless economy and lowering a persistently high unemployment rate.

It’s the same focus they have had for several years now. Rhode Island hasn’t rebounded from the recession like other New England states have.

But they’re going to address this challenge differently now that a new governor with new ideas is taking office and economic initiatives from past years are starting to help.

The General Assembly’s 2015 session begins Tuesday with ceremonial oaths of office and leadership elections. Incoming Gov. Gina Raimondo has pledged to be the “jobs governor.”

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello wants to exempt Social Security and other retirement benefits from the state income tax. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says she’s focused on education.

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