SOUTH PARK TOWNSHIP
– Fulfilling his promise to strongly represent the 39th Legislative District and put it on the map, Rep. Andrew Kuzma (R-Allegheny/Washington) today hosted 21 members of the House Majority Policy Committee from as far away as Cumberland County to hear from manufacturers about how the Commonwealth can help attract and expand opportunities for businesses.
“As reported by the 2020 U.S. Census, Pennsylvania is not growing at the same rate as other states,” Kuzma said. “In order to attract individuals and prevent our young people from leaving after graduation, we must have a robust economy that offers well-paying, family-sustaining jobs. Manufacturing is one of the keys to keeping and growing these opportunities. The testifiers today offered a lot of good information and suggestions. I look forward to working with my colleagues to remove barriers in the business climate.”
The panel heard from Mark Shelleby, treasurer of Vista Metals; Yemi Akinkugbe, chief excellence officer at CNX; Christopher Masciantonio, director of government affairs for U.S. Steel; and Norm Candelore, vice president of vendor relations at Sarris Candies.
Each panelist spoke about how their company significantly impacts the region’s economy. Among them, Masciantonio said that “3,000 people employed directly at the Mon Valley Works support an additional 10,500 jobs throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition, in 2018, Mon Valley Works generated $4.6 billion in economic output throughout the Pittsburgh region.”
“CNX has embraced the role as a regional innovator driving Appalachia’s socio-economic revitalization through local talent, homegrown energy and breakthrough technologies,” said Akinkugbe.
But the companies are facing some obstacles.
“It is very simple, if our Commonwealth needs more tax dollars, burying businesses is not the answer,” Candelore said. “Allowing business tax controls where we can offer additional jobs would increase Pennsylvania’s tax income tremendously. More jobs mean more dollars for everyone. I ask that you put programs together that would allow increased business tax breaks when additional jobs are created. As a business owner and manager, we often think of state government as the enemy, and we don't feel the mutual respect that we should have for each other. Instead of empty mills and business industrial parks, we need to make Pennsylvania and our region more attractive for possible business development to happen.”
“One of the most significant hurdles we continue to face is the hiring of new employees to grow our workforce to support our needs,” Shelleby said. “Manufacturing and our economy would benefit from policies that support our business needs and models, bring awareness of manufacturing into the school systems, support school administrators in promoting the skill sets and needs of the manufacturing industry, promote manufacturing to parents in the community, and inform and teach communities about the innovation and rewarding careers being created in the manufacturing industry.”
Video and testimony from the hearing will be available soon at pagoppolicy.com/pasthearings
The 39th Legislative District includes Elizabeth, Forward and South Park townships and Elizabeth, Jefferson Hills, Pleasant Hills and West Elizabeth boroughs in Allegheny County; and Union and part of Carroll townships, Finleyville and New Eagle boroughs, and the city of Monongahela in Washington County.