A package of seven Pennsylvania economic development bills has been introduced by State Senator Rob Teplitz, with the stated intent of boosting job creation and retention.
Teplitz, a new member of the PA Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, said in a release announcing the legislative package that his bills would help ensure that the state effectively supports the private sector’s job creation efforts and that there is appropriate accountability to the taxpayers in return.
The centerpiece of the package is the Economic Development and Fiscal Accountability Act (SB 154). It requires the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to submit a unified economic development budget report to the General Assembly every year.
This report would need to detail everything from applications the state gets for subsidies to the actual revenue loss resulting from approved tax incentives, as well as state-related expenditures on economic development.
The bill also seeks to impose public disclosure requirements and add regulatory requirements for approval of grant funding, along with penalties for non-compliance.
Sen. Teplitz is reintroducing this bill following a previous attempt to get the same legislation passed in the previous session. That bill (SB 394) was referred to the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, but didn’t go any further.
This time Sen. Teplitz is on the committee, and this bill is a part of a package of seven bills. The other six bills are as follows:
SB 152 – Requires DCED to institute policies and procedures to improve the administration of the Pennsylvania First Program.
SB 155 – This is the Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Training and Support Act. It would create a training and support program to help veterans start and run their own small business.
SB 156 – This bill would offer targeted initiatives to promote participation by small and disadvantaged businesses in government contracting.
SB 157 – This bill creates a ‘Made in PA’ program to improve on the existing PA Preferred label program by including a broader range of products that are made in Pennsylvania.
SB 158 – This bill, while not exactly about economic development, seeks to prevent employers from penalizing employees who miss work when they respond to calls as volunteers for fire companies and ambulance services.
SB 159 – This bill creates the ‘Office of New Americans’ within DCED to coordinate services for immigrants and also promote the state in overseas markets to make Pennsylvania more competitive in attracting and retaining skilled workers.