State legislation slated to raise at least $157.5 million for Pennsylvania’s economic development could stall in the state Senate this summer, according to Kyle Mullins, legislative director for Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe).
The bill, named “Innovate in PA” and pitched as a “job creation bill,” proposes selling $225 million in tax credits for at least 70 percent face value to raise money for state-backed investment fund Benjamin Franklin Technology Development Authority, which oversees Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners, and regional economic development agencies overseen by the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Cosponsored by Blake, Innovate in PA passed in the Senate’s finance committee last week but has been referred to the Senate’s appropriations committee, where it has to be approved in order to go to a full senate vote, Mullins said.
But the timing is tight: the Senate will shut down for the summer at the end of the week, provided that the Senate passes the state budget by its June 30 deadline, which might be possible this year. This means that, if the Senate does not approve Innovate in PA before June 30, it will have one more year to get approved since the state Senate runs in two-year sessions. Right now, it’s unclear if the Senate’s appropriations committee will vote on Innovate in PA this week, Mullins said.
It’s an effort that has taken the lobbying interest of PACT, where managing director Dean Miller has called it important legislation for the state. He’s told Technically Philly that he would want to see the city’s technology community champion its passage. It’s another way for the local scene to get political.
Innovate in PA will provide $2.37 to the state economy for every $1 invested, Mullins said. The bill is designed to impact all of the state’s regions equally, he said.