Creating Pennsylvania Jobs

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One of the most important policy issues today is the creation and retention of high quality, family sustaining jobs. The private sector creates jobs, but state government has an important supporting role to play. Unfortunately, for decades, Pennsylvania has spent billions of dollars on so-called “economic development” programs, attempting to choose between job-creating winners and losers. It hasn’t worked over the long term. Senator Teplitz is focused on creating a positive climate for jobs in Pennsylvania by making strategic investments in education and training, infrastructure, transportation, and tax relief for families and businesses.

In addition, Senator Teplitz wants to help nurture and grow the small business sector, which is the backbone of our community. He formed a Small Business Advisory Committee, which is made up of local small business owners and others interested in the success of local businesses. The committee meets to discuss legislation and issues that affect small businesses. The committee has held several events, including an informative forum on government contract opportunities for diverse businesses and a policy discussion on job creation and retention in Central Pennsylvania.

Finally, Senator Teplitz’s office can help projects that are seeking financial assistance in the form of state grants, loans, and tax credits. In addition to providing a comprehensive Pennsylvania Grant & Resource Directory, the senator’s website offers a letter of support online form for applicants.

Legislation

  • Workers’ Memorial DaySenate Resolution 331 designates April 28, 2016, as “Workers’ Memorial Day” in Pennsylvania.
  • Career and Technical Education Month: Senate Resolution 269 recognizes the month of February 2016 as “Career and Technical Education Month” in Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania Career Development Day: Senate Resolution 224 recognizes October 20, 2015, as “Pennsylvania Career Development Day.”
  • Professional Licensure Portability for Military Spouses: Senate Bill 964 allows military spouses to move more rapidly and efficiently into the workforce by providing a streamlined process in obtaining the transfer of their professional licenses into the Commonwealth.
  • Workers’ Memorial Day: Senate Resolution 96 designates April 28, 2015, as “Workers’ Memorial Day” in Pennsylvania.
  • Protection of Utility Line Workers: Senate Bill 765 include electric cooperative and utility personnel as emergency responders during declared disaster emergencies. The bill was signed into law as Act 61 of 2015. (co-sponsor)
  • Gaming Control Board Procurement Policies: Senate Bill 718 requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to make its procurement policies more transparent and accountable to the taxpayers. The Gaming Control Board would prepare detailed, written justifications with supporting documentation for sole source contracts.  Additionally, the board, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General and the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, would establish a policy governing expense documentation that would clearly define allowable reimbursable expenses.
  • Pay Equity: Senate Bill 303 strengthens Pennsylvania to eliminate the gender wage gap by increasing the protection to employees who have filed a complaint against an employer and prohibiting retaliation against employees for discussing wages (“pay secrecy”). The bill also closes the “factor other than sex” defense to apply only to bona fide business related factors. Bona fide factors other than sex include education, training, or experience. In order to file a complaint, a plaintiff must still identify a comparable employee who makes more money for performing equal work, equal effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.
  • Office of New Americans: Senate Bill 159 would provide for the creation of the Office of New Americans. The office would provide internal coordination of services that commonly affect the lives of immigrants, as well as promote the state abroad in order to be more competitive in attracting and retaining skilled workers.  Immigrants provide an important source of energy, innovation, and entrepreneurial activity, and Pennsylvania can do more to be competitive in attracting and keeping this pool of talent.
  • Volunteer Firefighter Employment Protection: Senate Bill 158 would protect volunteers of fire companies, ambulance services, or rescue squads from being penalized by employers for missing time at work to respond to a call.
  • Made in PA Program: Senate Bill 157 would create the Made in PA program, which expands the PA Preferred concept to more products made here in Pennsylvania. It would establish a new “Made in PA” logo to include a broader range of products made in Pennsylvania that are not currently covered by the registered PA Preferred label in order to generate additional interest in and demand for Pennsylvania products, thereby creating and retaining good manufacturing jobs for Pennsylvania families.
  • Procurement Code Modernization: Senate Bill 156 would promote participation by small and disadvantaged businesses in government contracting. It would create targeted initiatives that would enable small and disadvantaged businesses to better compete for government contracts. Among other initiatives, this legislation would establish a small business reserve, a statewide bonding program and a mentor-protégé program. This bill follows up on a public forum that Teplitz’s Small Business Advisory Committee held last fall on government contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Training and Support Act: Senate Bill 155 would assist veterans and reservists in obtaining the necessary skills to create, manage, and operate a small business by creating a training and support program. Working in consultation with the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, this program would be tasked with providing small business and entrepreneurial focused services to veterans and reservists.  Teplitz’s Veterans Advisory Committee, consisting of veterans and their families in the 15th district, routinely cites job training as a critical need.
  • Economic Development and Fiscal Accountability Act: Senate Bill 154 would require DCED to submit an annual economic development budget report to the General Assembly providing details regarding uncollected tax revenues resulting from tax credits, abatements, exemptions and reductions, as well as all state-related expenditures for economic development. This legislation would also enact further limitations on and procedures for allocation of grant funding, provide for penalties for noncompliance, and impose requirements for public disclosure.
  • Pennsylvania First Program: Senate Bill 152 would require the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to institute policies and procedures to improve the administration of the commonwealth’s Pennsylvania First Program (formerly known as the Opportunity Grant Program). This bill would maximize grant awards and make the program more accountable to taxpayers. The proposed legislation incorporates recommendations from a special performance audit of the program by the Department of the Auditor General that Teplitz had worked on as the agency’s chief counsel and policy director prior to his election to the Senate.

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