Some of the best things that Rhode Island could do to improve its economy: Get rid of dozens of its excess taxing authorities while making its state taxes as similar as possible to Massachusetts's.
Emphasize German-style vocational education as well as the usual academic courses. The biggest complaint that present or potential employers have about the Ocean State is the inadequately educated population.
Clarify/simplify its confusing and contradictory regulations. Throw out some of them. Enact "sunset laws'' to eliminate outdated and/or redundant statutes and regulations.
Speed the runway extension. Traffic has been dropping at T.F. Green Airport for one major reason -- the delay in getting a longer runway that will allow NONSTOP trips to the West Coast and frequent flights to Europe. (And get more European businesses here! Vive la France, etc.)
Traffic will surge when the runway is extended. The delay in that extension can be blamed on the extreme localism of some constituencies and the spinelessness of some political leaders in the face of it.
Make Quonset Point the major seaport it is designed to be.
Get rid of the state estate tax. It loses the state more revenue than it gains. It hurts the marketing of the state to CEO's and directors who make location decisions for their companies. And while it's far from onerous, it still sends fleeing some rich retirees.