Here’s How Pennsylvania Can Unlock Its Potential to Become a True Economic Leader

Spark Therapeutics
Image via DELCO Today.

Pennsylvania companies are changing the world. It’s on us to support them and their workers and create opportunities for more to thrive. Spark Therapeutics in Philadelphia is revolutionizing gene therapy and medical treatment for genetic disease.

EMD Electronics has become a global leader in semiconductor and electronics manufacturing and is building the largest integrated specialty gases facility in the world in Schuylkill County.

This summer, Astrobotic in Pittsburgh will help lead our nation back to the moon when their lunar lander – made in the Steel City – touches down on the moon.

Three distinct regions of our Commonwealth, and three very different companies – but one story of Pennsylvania ingenuity and innovation that demonstrates how our Commonwealth has the opportunity to drive innovation on a global scale.

We have the best, most skilled workers in the country, world-class universities and research institutions, and a growing reputation as a hub for biosciences, robotics, and advanced manufacturing.

What we need now is collaborative leadership that puts aside partisan games to do what’s best for the good people of Pennsylvania, and a commonsense strategy that enables us to unlock our Commonwealth’s potential.

I want to plant a flag here in Pennsylvania and show the country that this is the best place to build a business, raise a family, and live a productive, successful life.

That’s why I created the Office of Transformation and Opportunity – a one-stop shop to help businesses grow and thrive right here in Pennsylvania. I also signed an Executive Order to transform how state government approaches licensure, certification, and permitting.

We all know that our licensing and permitting process takes too long – and that makes it harder for a barber to relocate his business or for local communities to finish a major infrastructure project. We will fix this and get government to move at the speed of business.

My inaugural budget continues this work and makes a significant down payment on economic development and innovation with proposals that are good for business, good for workers, and good for Pennsylvania.

My budget increases funding for the Manufacturing Innovation Program by 50 percent. That means more resources to connect our universities with our businesses to spur innovation through cutting edge research done by Pennsylvania students.

I also committed to working with the Legislature to continue lowering the Corporate Net Income Tax. If we want the next scientific breakthrough to happen here, if we want our workers to build the future, then we need to continue lowering the Corporate Net Income Tax.

We need to believe and invest in our businesses – big and small.

These investments from the Commonwealth make projects like Re:Build’s New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park possible – a project that will create 300 good-paying, high-tech jobs in a community that has been forgotten for too long.

There is so much potential all across the Commonwealth to develop robust main streets in forgotten communities and jumpstart a new chapter for local economies – to help our small businesses and small towns get back in the game. That’s why, for the first time ever, my budget puts sustainable state funding into the Historically Disadvantaged Business Program.

I’ve visited with Latino business owners in Reading and Black business leaders in Pittsburgh who are trying to meet their community’s needs but need more access to capital – and their stories are reflected in communities across Pennsylvania. My budget will provide long-overdue funding for women- and minority-owned businesses across this Commonwealth, to support their growth and open new doors of opportunity.

On top of that, my budget significantly increases funding for the Keystone Communities Program. One thing I’ve always loved about Pennsylvania is that no matter where you are, nearly every place has a Main Street – and those main streets matter. My budget will help our main streets thrive again.

We’re raising the level of support we offer to Pennsylvania businesses and communities to match what other states are already doing, so our Commonwealth can get back in the game.

We need to make those investments not only for our towns and main streets – but for our farms, too.

One in 10 jobs in Pennsylvania are supported by the agriculture industry. Those jobs represent Pennsylvanians’ livelihoods, and there is a direct connection between their hard work and the food on our kitchen tables and in our stores. Our farmers need more access to capital, and we need to open up more markets for them – because when our farmers succeed, Pennsylvania succeeds.

My administration will stand with Pennsylvania’s farmers, in good times and bad. When I introduced my budget last month, I included $25 million to help farmers impacted by Hi-Path Avian Influenza recoup their losses. My budget also includes funding for a new Organic Center of Excellence to continue our Commonwealth’s long tradition of agricultural leadership.

With all of this, my administration is sending a clear message: Pennsylvania is open for business. But this isn’t a job I can do alone – I need lawmakers and business leaders to come together and work with me to develop smart policies that benefit workers and businesses.

I’m competitive as hell – and I’m sick and tired of losing out to other states. Now, we are taking steps to win again.

We need to take action now to entice and retain businesses and lead Pennsylvania into one of its greatest periods of economic growth.

I will be Pennsylvania’s biggest cheerleader, and together, we will innovate, compete, and – through our dedicated workforce and extraordinary businesses – we will be more prosperous and create more possibility across our Commonwealth.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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