Pennsylvania’s governor to push for millions in funds for economic development in budget

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro wants to devote millions of dollars to creating a 10-year economic development plan, including developing commercial and industrial sites, revitalizing an aging workforce and better competing with neighboring states to entice big businesses to choose Pennsylvania.

The plan, which Shapiro announced a week out from his formal budget address, seeks to address workforce shortages, ease challenges for startups and tech spinoffs and boost funding for economic development incentives.

Shapiro’s administration will focus its funding in five industries: agriculture, energy, life sciences, manufacturing and robotics and technology.

“These industries are the legs of our economy’s stool. I know stools have four legs. This is going to be a really firm stool,” he joked at a press conference announcing the proposed investments on Tuesday. “It’s going to hold everything up. We’ve got a fifth leg.”

Shapiro has been eyeing such a strategy since last year, when he told legislators during his inaugural budget address that he was “competitive as hell — and I’m sick and tired of losing to other states.”

The announcement comes as neighboring states are pouring incentives into luring multibillion-dollar microchip, electric vehicle and battery factories. That includes Ohio landing a $20 billion factory by chipmaker Intel in 2022, which officials say has the power to create a new technology hub in the state.

But business-sector officials say Pennsylvania lacks huge tracts of available land to attract such projects.

Shapiro said while a group of site selectors found Pennsylvania appealing, they told his administration it’s “nearly impossible to sell a company on the Commonwealth because we don’t have sites ready to go.”

  • January 30, 2024
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