While national economic recovery has created a “rising tide” lifting the economic fortunes of states nationwide, Pennsylvania is being left behind. The Commonwealth’s unemployment rate remains above the national average, and annual employment growth under the Wolf administration is well below 1%. While manufacturing employment has increased nationally by 7% since 2010, it has declined in Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg’s lack of action on critical issues creates economic uncertainty precluding private sector investment in the Commonwealth. We have one of the worst credit ratings in the nation, ahead of only Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois. We are ranked #49th in the quality of our transportation infrastructure despite having the highest gasoline tax in the nation. We have what is essentially the highest corporate state tax rate and the highest unemployment tax in the Country, and we do not permit business start-ups and cyclical businesses to fully recognize their losses and investments in job creation. Meanwhile, our citizens are leaving the Commonwealth for greater job opportunities elsewhere. We have a net outward migration of our population, largely composed of new college graduates. In 2016, Pennsylvania lost population for the first time since 1985.
This performance is even more frustrating given the Commonwealth’s many advantages. We are called the “Keystone State” for a reason. We are geographically proximate to some of the world’s richest commercial markets in the northeastern U.S., which includes well over 100 million people. Our waterways grant us access to the Atlantic Ocean, Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico. We sit on the largest single deposit of shale gas in the nation. Our colleges and universities are global leaders in a variety of technologies. Our farmland is among the most fertile in the nation. We have the history and natural beauty to become a major tourist destination. The opportunity for tremendous growth and prosperity is within our grasp, yet we have failed to seize it. We can – and must – do better.
My vision for the economic success of the Commonwealth comprises the following:
- A Global Powerhouse in Energy Production
- The World’s Leader in Robotics, Advanced and Additive Manufacturing, and Artificial Intelligence
- A Global Center for Cell Biology and Drug Discovery
- The Agricultural Breadbasket to the Nation and World
- An Attractive Center for Tourism, and an Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise
We can turn each of these five opportunities into thriving, vibrant job creators for all of Pennsylvania, and bring back hundreds of thousands of the middle-class, high-tech, and white-collar jobs lost in the last decades. How? Inspirational leadership, sound policy and modern administration of government—three things I will bring to Harrisburg. As Governor, my greatest focus will be on taking all of the blessings bestowed upon the Commonwealth and transforming them into prosperity for all Pennsylvanians. This will require six actions:
- Create a Corporate Tax Structure Encouraging, Rather than Discouraging, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, and Growth in Jobs and Wages
- Alleviate Harrisburg’s Enormous Regulatory Burden and Anti-business Culture
- Support Home Ownership by Eliminating School Property Taxes and Empowering Counties to Eliminate County Property Taxes
- Develop a Skilled Work Force to Meet the Needs of a Changing Economy
- Rebuild Our Strategic Infrastructure
- Promote Our Great Advantages to Those Across the U. and the Globe
I invite you to learn more about our comprehensive plan to Restore the Dream by bringing our jobs and our children home to Pennsylvania. Click here to download your copy of Restore the Dream.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMS42000003000000001?amp%253 bdata_tool=XGtable&output_view=data&include_graphs=true. Accessed August 8, 2017