On behalf of its nearly 10,000 members representing businesses of all sizes and industries across Pennsylvania, the PA Chamber stood alongside Gov. Josh Shapiro and administration officials last week at a press conference announcing the creation of three entities dedicated to fostering innovation, supporting transformational economic development, and creating opportunity for businesses and workers in Pennsylvania.
At the press conference, the governor signed an Executive Order formally creating the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity, the Economic Development Strategy Group, and the Governor’s Innovation Council. Together, these entities will collectively be tasked with cutting red tape and increasing state government’s responsiveness to businesses in order to spur private sector investment and job growth in Pennsylvania.
Coverage of the press conference was carried statewide and included remarks made by PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein, who said that Pennsylvania has historically struggled to compete with other states based on its high Corporate Net Income Tax rate and slow permitting processes. He specifically mentioned last year’s decision by a leading steel company to invest $3 billion in a new Arkansas facility because, as then-Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said at that time, the Arkansas plants would be built “before you could even get a permit to start construction in Pennsylvania.”
However, the PA Chamber has expressed optimism for the future following CNI reductions included in a major tax reform package last year (reductions that Gov. Shapiro has expressed an interest in accelerating during his tenure), the creation of the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, along with the regulatory reforms which we are advocating the legislature pursue. These improvements have the potential to greatly improve economic outcomes for the Commonwealth and put us on a forward path to prosperity.
“The Pennsylvania Chamber’s mission is to drive economic opportunity, and we engage with our members extensively to understand how to improve the Commonwealth’s business climate and competitiveness,” Bernstein said in a press release. “Regulatory and permitting reform continue to be among the critical issues that businesses would like to see addressed – initiatives the PA Chamber has discussed with Gov. Shapiro during his campaign and throughout his transition. We are thankful that Gov. Shapiro is taking immediate action to strengthen and streamline our economic development efforts and improve the regulatory climate. We look forward to working with the governor and his administration to make Pennsylvania more competitive.”
Specifically, the Governor is creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity to help develop and lead an overall growth strategy and implement economic development projects – coordinating with Commonwealth agencies, expediting permit reviews, and ensuring the speed of business reviews and the approval of key incentive programs. The Economic Development Strategy Group will be directed to advise Gov. Shapiro on Economic Development projects and processes to attract and retain employers, recruit innovation leaders, and create good-paying jobs here in Pennsylvania. Lastly, the Governor’s Innovation Council will be tasked with bringing together a regionally diverse group of leaders and experts to advise the governor and his team on industry trends and important investment opportunities.
A comprehensive list of media coverage from the event is available on the “In the News” section of our website.