(Photo by Flickr user Governor Tom Wolf, used under a Creative Commons license)
This story is part of Grow PA, a reported series on economic development across 10 Pennsylvania counties supported by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Sign up for our weekly curated email here.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf sat down with 6abc anchor Matt O’Donnell last week for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s annual Q&A. There, the governor lent some insight into Grow PA and touched on some business questions relevant to the campaign’s agenda.
The agenda concentrates on healthcare, infrastructure and higher education — three sectors that are best poised to grow the state economy and what Wolf said are “really central to a strong, healthy Commonwealth.”
The tough question, Wolf added, is figuring out where to make prudent investments in each of those sectors.
“They’re all going to have a price tag associated with them. It ain’t gonna be free,” Wolf said. “All of us in business, you’re looking for ways to do things better, more efficiently, but you also know you can’t cut half the services your customers depend on. That’s the challenge all of us have here.”
Speaking of price tags, Wolf said he was wary to make affordability the primary incentive for Amazon as the company looks at both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as possible HQ2 locations.
“When I was in business, you didn’t want sales people to sell on price,” Wolf said. “What Amazon is looking for — affordability, amenities, good education and good universities — we have those things. This is a phenomenal place to do business, to live and to attract employees to.”
The governor also said he’s hoping to attract more mid-tier companies to Pennsylvania. He’s also looking to create a severance tax for natural gas companies tapping into the state’s shale, raise the minimum wage to “make sure Pennsylvanians who work are actually above the poverty line” and continue to raise funds for investing in infrastructure.
As for Grow PA, Wolf said there are a lot of good ideas for how to grow the Commonwealth’s economy, but there are also a lot of questions.
What will Grow PA’s partnership look like? What will the private sector’s role be? The public sector? If that can be figured out, Wolf said, “We’ve got a really bright future.”
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