Experts, Analysts Weigh-in on Comprehensive Senate Democratic Plan to Grow Jobs, Spark Economic Development, Help Veterans

SCRANTON, Oct. 8, 2013 – Venture capitalists, public policy experts and economic development analysts today debated the strategic elements of the Senate Democratic plan to grow jobs and foster business creation and expansion in Pennsylvania.

Called “PA Works,” the Senate Democratic strategy is a multi-faceted approach that includes dozens of proposals and incorporates Sen. John Blake’s (D-Lackawanna) groundbreaking “Innovate in PA” program.

If enacted, “PA Works” would create an estimated 80,000 jobs and generate $2 billion in new private investment.

“We’re talking to local, state and private experts on the economy because we believe Pennsylvania can do more to drive economic activity and encourage investment and job growth. We’re excited about ‘PA Works’ and its prospects for both short- and long-term benefits to our state’s economy,” Blake said.

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee, chaired by Northampton County Sen. Lisa Boscola, engaged three panels of experts at the University of Scranton’s Loyola Science Center.

“Stoking our economy, getting people back to work and helping businesses succeed should be government’s top priority,” Boscola said. “This is why we are presenting ‘PA Works’ and Sen. Blake’s ‘Innovate in PA’ to get this state moving again.”

Blake’s “Innovate in PA,” which was enacted when the governor signed the state’s tax code into law, is designed to improve Pennsylvania’s capacity to support the job creators of the future with new investments of nearly $100 million in the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, information technology and energy business sectors.

Mike Gausling, the managing director of Originate Ventures, praised “Innovate in PA” for being there for new businesses.

“Investors who don’t take as much risk aren’t going to show up (with investment dollars), so it is critical for the state to step up and provide early stage risk capital,” Gausling said.

For each dollar the state invests, said Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast PA CEO Chad Paul, there will be a $3.60 return.

The five critical elements of “PA Works” that were spotlighted at the hearing will invest in the state’s small businesses (SB 200, SB 205, SB 216), develop and rebuild infrastructure (SB 201, SB 236, SB 224, SB 1033, the expansion of H2O PA, and new PENNVEST funding), better prepare workers for in-demand jobs (SB 223, SB 230, SB 208, and industry certification), train veterans for fulfilling civilian careers (SB 203, SB 215, SB 231, SB 452, and increased opportunities for veteran contracting), and ease the burden on minority women and families (SB 228, SB 219, and SB 858).

“Pennsylvania is at a crossroads,” Blake said. “We need to choose the right path forward to create long-lasting and positive opportunities for business, job creation and economic development.”

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate increased in August to 7.7 percent while the national jobless rate hovered at 7.3 percent. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said PA is 45th in the country in 2013 for year-to-date employment growth.

“Whether it’s struggling with a budget crisis, maintaining city services, or fighting crime and blight, we need a comprehensive strategy that will enable our urban cores to revitalize themselves, attract new investment, and emerge as destination points for new residents and businesses,” Boscola said.

“The creation of a single job ripples through the economy and benefits us all,” said Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development Executive Director Teri Ooms. “We all win.”

Others testifying before the committee on the “PA Works” plan and “Innovate in PA” were Richard Stein, CEO, Klios Inc.; Amy Luyster, assistant vice president, The Scranton Plan; Dr. Mel Billingsley, CEO, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA; William J. Schoen, administrator, Skills in Scranton; Ronald Vogel, regional representative, PA Department of Labor & Industry; and David Jadick, acting public affairs officer, Tobyhanna Army Depot.

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Blake, Boscola, Senate Committee to Discuss Job Creation, Economic Development, Veterans Help During Scranton Roundtable

HARRISBURG, Oct. 3, 2013 – The Senate Democratic Policy Committee will bring together venture capitalists, public policy experts, Scranton officials and economic development analysts at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the University of Scranton for an in-depth discussion about turning around Pennsylvania’s economy.

[frame align=”right”]Job_Creation[/frame]The two-hour long event, at the request of Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna), will feature three panels of experts who will share their ideas about the commonwealth’s immediate economic development needs, and to talk about Blake’s recently enacted “Innovate in PA” program.

“Innovate in PA” is designed to improve Pennsylvania’s capacity to support the job creators of the future with new investments of nearly $100 million in the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, information technology and energy business sectors.

The policy committee will also explore pending legislation designed to improve PA’s business infrastructure, increase the flow of venture capital, up the volume of affordable housing, help veterans become business owners, and improve state contracting opportunities for minorities and women.

Media coverage is welcomed and encouraged.

WHO:             State Sens. Lisa Boscola and John Blake, as well as members of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee

Teri Ooms, executive director, Institute for Public Policy &  Economic Development

Richard Stein, CEO, Klios Inc.

Amy Luyster, assistant vice president, The Scranton Plan

Chad Paul, CEO, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast PA

Dr. Mel Billingsley, CEO, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA

Mike Gausling, managing director, Originate Ventures

William J. Schoen, administrator, Skills in Scranton

Ronald Vogel, regional representative, PA Department of Labor & Industry

David Jadick, acting public affairs officer, Tobyhanna Army Depot

 

WHAT:          Roundtable discussion on “Innovate in PA” and proposed legislation to improve the state’s economy

WHEN:          11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8

WHERE:        The University of Scranton

Loyola Science Center

204 Monroe Ave.

Scranton

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Blake Takes Jobs Message to 22nd District

SCRANTON, February 25, 2011 – – At a number of events throughout Lackawanna County today, state Sen. John P. Blake highlighted the details of a Senate Democratic proposal that has the potential to create over 28,000 jobs while reducing state spending and encouraging private investment.

Blake, joined by Senate Democratic Appropriations Chairman Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia /Montgomery County), said that the six-point PA Works plan will focus on small business, workforce training, critical state investments, clean and green energy, infrastructure investment and tax fairness.

“Here in the Scranton area, good jobs are becoming increasingly scarce while our unemployment rate remains among the highest in Pennsylvania,” Blake said. “PA Works is not another new means of government spending, but a retooling of current spending for better impact and job creation.”

Blake said that PA Works is the first step towards stimulating and growing Pennsylvania’s economy and is expected to leverage over $2 billion in new private investments while resulting in more than $150 million in General Fund savings.

“If we are going to put Pennsylvania’s economy back on track, we need to look at every issue through the ‘job creation lens,’” Hughes said. “PA Works not only puts our friends and neighbors back to work, but it invests in our future through infrastructure improvements, workforce training and small business development.”

The initiatives proposed in PA Works rely exclusively on increased utilization of existing funding sources, most notably the more than $500 million remaining unspent by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

“The success of our small business community has always been a barometer for the Scranton area,” Blake added. “If we want to cut unemployment, expand small business and attract big business it is imperative that the legislature embraces innovative, cost-effective proposals like PA Works.”

For further details on the PA Works proposal visit www.senatorblake.com.

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Blake, Senate Democrats Announce Major Jobs Initiative

HARRISBURG, February 23, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today joined Senate Democratic leaders in announcing a six-point plan that could create tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania while reducing state spending and encouraging private investment throughout the state.

‘PA Works’ will focus on small business, workforce training, critical state investments, clean and green energy, infrastructure investment and tax fairness to create more than 28,000 jobs and leverage over $2 billion in new private investments. Blake said PA Works will result in more than $150 million in the state’s General Fund savings.

“While Harrisburg has been basically on hold in anticipation of Gov. Corbett’s budget announcement, we have worked diligently over the past few weeks to come up with an innovative plan to retain and create jobs for hard-working Pennsylvanians,” Blake said. “If we want to come up with a long-term solution for the economic well-being of Pennsylvania, job retention and job creation need to be our top priorities.”

Blake said that ‘PA Works’ uses innovative ideas that will spur job creation, promote a business-friendly environment and expand business opportunities.

“I know firsthand that our current economic development incentives are effective and important to our business community across the state but there are several areas where improvement is necessary and urgent,” said Senator Blake. “Taking the existing programs that we have and making them even more responsive to private-sector initiative is something that will not only save taxpayers’ money, but it will bring the returns on investment that taxpayers demand and deserve.”

For more information on PA Works visit www.senatorblake.com.

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