Cracker Plant Could Mean Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and Emphasizes Pennsylvania’s Economic Outlook, Turzai says
BRADFORD WOODS, Allegheny County – Responding to today’s announcement of Shell Oil’s decision to sign a land option for the possible construction of a chemical plant in Beaver County, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said it is tremendous news for all Pennsylvanians and reflects the confidence job creators are regaining in the state’s jobs climate.

“This is just great news for western Pennsylvania. This means good-paying, family-sustaining jobs may be coming right here, in our part of the state and I applaud Gov. Corbett for making this happen,” Turzai said. “Our priority has always been improving Pennsylvania’s jobs climate. And the key to doing that is private sector job growth.

“Our EmployPA legislative package has been integral to changing Pennsylvania’s perception to job creators. It is helping make the Commonwealth more economically competitive, enticing more businesses, like Shell, to locate and stay in Pennsylvania.”

According to Turzai, last month’s passage of the state’s Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ) law to expand KOZs – special designated areas granting employers broad tax cuts, credits and exemptions to spur job growth – was critical to Shell’s decision to locate in Beaver County. Shell may spend as much as $4 billion to build an “ethane cracker.” The plant itself would create several hundred jobs but mean thousands more in related businesses.

The new KOZ expansion, now Act 16 of 2012, allows employers that invest at least $1 billion and create at least 400 permanent, full-time jobs to get an extra five years of tax breaks, 15 years in all, with more breaks for manufacturing and processing businesses. KOZs encourage the use of unoccupied or under-developed parcels and old industrial sites.

KOZs have been used in Pennsylvania since 1999. In fact, Business Facilities magazine has called KOZs “the number one economic development strategy in the nation.”

“KOZs work – they attract employers and rebuild run-down or underused areas,” Turzai said. “The Shell announcement is tangible evidence that Pennsylvania is once again ready to compete for jobs as the economy continues to recover. But we have more work to do to create a competitive tax and regulatory climate that keeps us at the forefront of business expansions and relocations.”

Turzai noted that improving the state’s jobs climate has been a top priority for House Republicans. Already this session, under Republican leadership, the House and Senate passed legislation aimed at making Pennsylvania once again competitive. Those efforts include: 

        • Protecting employers from unfair lawsuit abuse through passage of the Fair 
          Share Act. 
        • Bringing equity to the Unemployment Compensation system through a number of 
          reforms, such as requiring recipients to at least look for a job and creating an 
          offset for severance pay. 
        • Providing a fair playing field, allowing for predictability and stability for the 
          Marcellus/Utica Shale industry, while addressing local impacts and environmental 
          concerns in a way that allows growth and job development. 
        • Helping smaller employers by adopting Workers’ Compensation reforms for sole 
        • Giving small business a voice by requiring economic impact statements on state 
          regulations affecting employers and offering regulatory flexibility. 
        • Helping the housing industry by repealing the mandatory residential sprinkler 

Last month, the House passed legislation that would create a state “One Stop Shop Business Permit and License Portal.” The online portal for businesses creates personal accounts to submit and track permits and licenses, offers opportunities to make payments on licenses and permits, and tracks the status of applied-for permits. House Bill 2022 is awaiting Senate action. Gov. Tom Corbett is in support of this.

Turzai noted various reports and business groups show Pennsylvania has one of the highest costs of doing business in the country when combining state and local taxes, fees, regulatory requirements and health care. Improvements will lead to higher employment and economic growth.

State Representative Mike Turzai
28th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Stephen Miskin
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