HARRISBURG – Senator John Yudichak (I-14) urged state Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin on Monday to promote energy tax credits to help jump-start the economy.
As part of a Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing featuring Davin’s agency, Yudichak noted that the General Assembly approved Act 66, the Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit, last year.
“The initiative has the potential to attract petrochemical manufacturers and create 5,000 new jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania, by taking advantage of an abundant and affordable supply of natural gas,” said Yudichak, who chairs the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee.
“We have a few companies currently looking at Pennsylvania, but I was surprised to learn that national site selectors – which meet regularly with DCED – were not aware of the tax credits,” added Yudichak.
Davin indicated that the agency is in its sixth year of meeting regularly with site selectors and that the Act 66 tax credit remains a priority.
Yudichak also stressed the importance of jobs, as Pennsylvania rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that the computer data center industry has the ability to generate $5.8 billion in economic impact, as well as create 30,000 new jobs here.
“In neighboring states like Virginia, which has a sales tax exemption to promote computer data center development, thousands of new jobs are being created annually,” said Yudichak. “We need to create jobs and support the technological infrastructure that is so important to our healthcare industry and educational institutions, as well as so many others.”
Expressing concern about a projected job loss in northeast Pennsylvania, Yudichak implored Davin and other economic development experts to analyze plans to divert water from the Delaware River Basin Commission to New York.
“Water is essential to life; water is essential to tourism,” said Yudichak. “Hundreds of businesses are tied to the Lehigh River – if this happens, it kills the tourism industry and thousands of jobs.”
Concerns were voiced regarding the state Facility Closure Transition Program, which was recently rolled-out in Luzerne County and a dozen counties statewide. Locally, Luzerne witnessed the closure of two state facilities, resulting in the loss of over 800 union jobs.
“We need a long-range plan to recover from the loss of $100 million in annual economic impact to our region,” said Yudichak.
The lawmaker thanked the administration for its pivotal role in conjunction with the Solomon Creek Flood Protection Project in Wilkes-Barre. With municipalities experiencing financial woes as a result of the pandemic, Yudichak encouraged the department to examine existing funding sources – such as the Commonwealth Financing Authority, PENNVEST or Local Share Account gaming funds – to assemble a greater pool of resources for communities with long-neglected infrastructure projects.