Pa. Senate Democrats Advance Jobs Initiative
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Democrats in the state Senate on Wednesday unveiled a wide-ranging plan to bolster job creation and investment in Pennsylvania.
The “PA WORKS’’ package includes proposals to spur financing for small businesses, consolidate an array of job-training programs, increase and expand the job-creation tax credit for employers and overhaul the state’s corporate tax laws, the lawmakers said at a Capitol news conference.
The Democratic senators, who are outnumbered by Republicans, said the proposals would be financed largely by tapping a more than $500 million balance in the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which oversees low-interest loans, loan guarantees and grants for economic development projects financed by more than $1 billion in borrowing approved in 2004.
They also would once again slow down the everchanging timetable for the planned phase- out of the state’s Capital Stock and Franchise Tax. That would free up $80 million for the creation of a special fund that would be used to make targeted investments in established programs with records of success, they said.
Sen. Jay Costa, the Senate Democratic leader, said spending cuts are inevitable in the face of a projected $4 billion-plus deficit for the fiscal year that starts July 1, but that creating jobs should be the overriding priority.
“It is imperative that we continue to look at the big picture and make wise investments in our future to speed our economic recovery in Pennsylvania,’’ the Allegheny County lawmaker said.
A spokesman for the Senate Republicans said GOP leaders had not seen the Democratic proposal.
“Our top priority is getting people back to work. The best way to do that is to establish good fiscal policies in the state budget designed to spur private sector job growth,’’ said Erik Arneson a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, RDelaware.