KRC Report Unveils New Economic Development Strategy for PA That Builds Businesses Here, Rather Than Poaching Them from Other States
In the same week that Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited Philadelphia as part of his plan to lure other states’ employers to Florida, the Keystone Research Center released a new report offering a different economic development strategy for Pennsylvania, based on building home-grown businesses.
All Pennsylvanians Prospering Together (APP): A Pennsylvania Economic Development Strategy for the Long Term, by Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, an economist and the executive director of KRC, and John McAuliff, is based on four core principles:
- Investing in “public goods” that deliver public benefits
- Practicing market-based, not market-distorting, economic development
- Investing in innovation and growing Pennsylvania’s own companies
- Pursuing a Pennsylvania good jobs strategy
“At the start of a new governor’s administration, Pennsylvania needs to renew its historic bipartisan commitment to economic development. The state has the opportunity to create a national model of an economic development strategy in which all the people contribute to a joint effort to expand the economic pie and benefit from the growth of that pie,” Herzenberg said.
Among the report’s recommendations are that Pennsylvania should:
- Develop a holistic strategy to grow Pennsylvania’s own businesses, promote innovation, and encourage sharing of the benefits of growth with employees.
- Invest adequately in economic development. Business and economic development organizations need to champion raising the revenue for that investment.
- Promote transparency and accountability in economic development programs.
- Invest in manufacturing innovation, including through low-cost networking among university and industry researchers, industry economic development partnerships, and supply chain initiatives that boost reshoring.
- Invest in Pennsylvania’s cities, towns, and landscapes by expanding Community and Regional Development funding via a multi-purpose Keystone Communities Fund, providing block grants to incentivize bottom-up regional revitalization, reinvesting in Community Landscape Initiatives (CLIs) in rural regions and other means
- Promote a Pennsylvania good jobs strategy by creating an industrial performance center to deepen knowledge about good jobs strategies and how to diffuse them, by setting aside five percent of technical assistance funds to assist companies in low-wage industries improve jobs, and other means.
“If Pennsylvania can find the will to invest more in innovation, technology, and its workforce, and to spread new norms in which employees enjoy more of the fruits of their employers’ success, the state could become the strongest economy in the country,” Herzenberg said.