PA Economic Development Programs Rank 40th on Job Creation, Job Quality Standards

A new national study sizing up hundreds of state-level tax credit, cash grant and other economic development subsidies has some bad news for Pennsylvania.

The commonwealth scored a D and ranked 40th place among the states in the Good Jobs First report, Money for Something: Job Creation and Job Quality Standards in State Economic Development Subsidy Programs. Some of the five Pennsylvania programs reviewed by researchers lack job creation requirements and wage standards for workers at subsidized companies. None of the programs required companies receiving state tax dollars to provide health benefits to workers in jobs or facilities funded by the subsidy.

Researchers looked at Pennsylvania's Film Production Tax Credit, Job Creation Tax Credit, Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) Program, Opportunity Grant Program, and Research and Development Tax Credit. Combined, these programs cost state taxpayers $181 million a year.

Learn more about the Pennsylvania findings here.

The Good Jobs First study confirms the Keystone Research Center’s 2010 study which found that nine major Pennsylvania business subsidy programs had low or no job quality standards.

Hopefully, lawmakers in Harrisburg get the message and take steps to improve economic development accountability. Senator Pat Browne has proposed legislation in past sessions to address these issues. Remarking on the Good Jobs First study, he said in a Keystone Research Center press release yesterday: “Certainly, the overall process would be improved by setting clearly defined accountability standards for all of the various economic development programs in Pennsylvania.”

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