A Better Economy for Pennsylvania
How do you create jobs… how do you get manufacturers looking for new locations to pick Danville or Shamokin or Mt Carmel or any other town in our area. What do they factor into their decisions on where to locate:
1. Cost of commercial properties: availability of manufacturing/warehouse space or raw land for purchase or rent and the property taxes on properties. — I think we’ve got a lot to offer here.
2. Transportation issues: they need to get materials in, finished product out to market – they’ll look at highways, railroads, ports and airports. We’re close to Interstates 80 and 81 and the turnpike and not an unreasonable distance from the New York/New Jersey corridors. — We’ve got rail lines.
3. The economic vibrancy and infrastructure of the surrounding area. Are the cities financially healthy or spiraling downward? — There we have some problems.
4. Labor force: they will look at the educational levels attained by the local labor pool, at a minimum they are going to want to see high school graduates. They will look for the availability of skilled workers like electricians, mechanics or plumbers or perhaps people who are computer literate. They will look at the averages wages of labor in the area.
5. State, county and local policies can have a huge impact on location decisions. Are there any financial incentives or tax breaks? Our representatives in Harrisburg must pass legislation that attracts businesses. As your representative from the 107th this will be one of my primary missions.
6. They will examine the “Quality of life” issues of an area.
- Are there good hospitals near by? — We have Geisinger, Shamokin, Sunbury, Bloomsburg, Evangelical.
- Are the local school systems good? —There we have some problems, our dropout rates are too high and our students are not performing well on college entrance exams.
- Are there higher education institutions in the area? — We have Bloomsburg University, Susquehanna University, Bucknell, Penn Tech in Williamsport, a Luzerne County Community College satellite in Shamokin.
- Are there “cultural amenities” in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation? — We have Knoebels, Spyglass Winery has some pretty good concerts, Bucknell & Bloomsburg have Artists series. AOAA (Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area) in Coal Township, lots of campgrounds and state parkland for hiking.
- Shopping: are there vibrant retail corridors that offer a variety of retailers, restaurants and movies? — We have the Susquehanna Valley Mall, though that seems to be on shaky ground with the recent loss of Sears, Penney’s and Bon-Ton. We also recently lost the K-Mart in Shamokin Dam.
All these issues are considered when a company is looking to locate a new facility… when they are looking to create jobs.
A lot of these metrics we do pretty good at, but some of them, particularly the quality of our local school districts and the economic stress on our municipalities are hurting us tremendously. So what concrete steps could we take to address these issues?
As your Representative in Harrisburg I would propose legislation designed to offer financial incentives to manufactures of alternative energy technology. Wind turbines and solar panels are the energy of the future. Setting Pennsylvania up as the state that offers the best economic terms to manufacturers could put us on the forefront of an industry that is booming. The job creation potential is huge.
As your Representative in Harrisburg, I would propose the legalization of recreational marijuana. There is a huge potential for tax revenue, probably on the order of $200 million per year. That money could go a long way to fund assistance to struggling school districts and to fund blighted property acquisition and clean up. Recent polls suggest that 59% of Pennsylvanians support legalizing Marijuana. Decriminalization of marijuana would leave our law enforcement, courts and prisons more resources to contend with the serious drug issue of the opioid epidemic. In Colorado, it is estimated that 18,000 jobs were created by the legalization of recreational marijuana. Increased tax revenue, decreased law enforcement costs, jobs created … that sounds like win, win, win to me.
As your Representative in Harrisburg I would propose the taxing of natural gas extraction by fracking. Every other state that has gas wells imposes a “severance tax”. Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Louisiana, Colorado… they all have a tax. Of the top 15 gas producing states, Pennsylvania is the only one that does not have a severance tax. It is estimated that Pennsylvania is losing $300 million annually by not imposing a tax that the gas extraction industry sees as a “cost of doing business” in every other state. That $300 million could go a long way to closing the state budget gap, to fund our school systems and to support our community revitalization goals here in our state.
As your Representative in Harrisburg I would propose implementation of a “Fair Share Wealth Tax,” a tax on non-wage income such as dividend income and capital gains, that could generate as much as $2 BILLION annually
These are just a few of the problems and solutions I believe would go a long way to help Pennsylvania, help the 107th district, and help you.
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Friends of Sarah Donnelly
4939 State Route 54
Elysburg, PA 17824