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Bill would offer incentive for creating business in Pa.

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 04 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 05 2012 05:36:16 PM CDT

A state lawmaker is offering his solution to create more jobs in Pennsylvania.

A state lawmaker is offering his solution to create more jobs in Pennsylvania. Pa. Rep. Kerry Benninghoff's plan would reimburse business owners 95% of their new employees state income taxes.

The bill is named Promoting Employment Across Pennsylvania Program. If passed, some said it will make it easier to bring new business to the commonwealth, but not everyone agrees.

It sounds like a great plan. Open a new business in Pennsylvania and for every new hire, the qualifying business owner gets a rebate totaling 95% of the employee's income tax the company normally sends to the state revenue department.

"Anytime state government does something to provide a state-based tax incentive, it certainly makes our job easier in landing companies to the Lehigh Valley," said Don Cunningham, CEO, Lehigh Valley Economic Development.

House Bill 2626, also known as Promoting Employment Across Pennsylvania Act, is sponsored by Benninghoff, from Centre and Mifflin counties. So far, the bill has made it out of the financial committee.

"They have to earn this incentive by creating a business here in Pennsylvania and, more importantly, creating the jobs that are so valuably needed," said Benninghoff.

Ritchie LaFaver, a Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee, crunched the numbers.

For an employee making $50,000 a year, LaFaver said, "A qualified company would be able to retain $1,458.00 for up to 10 years."

Cunningham said it all sounds good, but this bill is a long way from being passed.

"It comes out of the blocks with a much better chance to go forward because it's the party that is in control," added Cunningham. "I'm sure there are a lot of other lawmakers and the governor's office will have something to say about it before it were to become a law."

A liberal lobbying group, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, is urging lawmakers to vote down the bill because of the unforeseen costs.

Benninghoff said he expects to introduce the bill to the full House in two weeks.