A Statewide Vision for Economic Growth

by | May 2, 2023 | News

Last month I was honored to preside over the 2023 PA Economic Development Association (PEDA) Legislative Conference in Harrisburg. More than 170 colleagues within Pennsylvania’s economic development community gathered to share a vision; a vision for a renewed and better way to elevate Pennsylvania’s ability to attract people and investment. The call to action was clear: “we are competitive, we are attracting investment, we love our communities, but we can do better, and we will.”

While attracting new outside investment is important, retaining what we already have and securing a talent pipeline is equally if not more important. Ensuring that state government works at the “speed of business” is the rallying cry of the Shapiro Administration, one we all can easily get behind. Rather than inventing new programs, many that already exist simply need to be updated and funded. For PEDA they include:

  • Recapitalizing the PA Industrial Authority (PIDA) Program, Industrial Sites Reuse (ISRP) Program and the Business in our Sites (BIOS) Program – our core economic development revolving loan programs which are significantly over subscribed.
  • Expanding the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit program allowance.
  • Fast track permitting for already developed sites and buildings and in designated business parks.
  • Lessoning the ever-growing regulatory guideline burden in most state programs.
  • Expanding the Business in Our Sites (BIOS) program guidelines to include non-income restricted housing projects/development in smaller urban areas.
  • Direct new dedicated funding streams for local economic development.

Delegates heard from Acting Economic and Community Development Secretary Rick Siger, who outlined a bold, yet common sense policy agenda designed to break down barriers wherever they exist between business, investors, and state government policies.

Thought leader and national economic development expert Rich Overmoyer delivered a keynote on best practices, what’s working and what’s not in communities across the Country, emphasizing the importance of the need for a new strategic plan and direction for Pennsylvania. Shifting towards a human centric model that builds community capacity and expands livability factors like outdoor recreation are increasingly important. The opportunity is real as a hybrid and highly mobile workforce takes hold.

We also made it a point to recognize a long-time friend of PEDA, Carol Kilko, whose contributions to economic development statewide are legendary. There has been a lot accomplished, but much more to do. We are continuing to build new relationships with the Administration and legislative leaders to modernize our economic development programs and policies.

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