(HARRISBURG, PA) Pennsylvania’s competitive position has, in many ways, improved in recent years, but work remains says a new model developed by the Pennsylvania Business Council and delivered today to the Pennsylvania Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus at a capitol news conference.
Caucus co-chairs Senators Robert Mensch (R-Montgomery) and Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton) said they will use the model and accompanying analysis to supplement and inform the deliberations of their General Assembly colleagues.
“This is very helpful information,” commented Mensch as he formally received a copy of the report. “The Pennsylvania Business Council briefed our Caucus several years ago and their data provided useful tools as we look for ways to create more jobs for Pennsylvanians.” Mensch said the goal of the Pennsylvania Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus is “to bring more good-paying, family-sustaining jobs to Pennsylvania, while keeping the jobs we already have. This report outlines a blueprint and measurable goals for that work.”
Boscola echoed the praise. “I appreciate their analysis of Pennsylvania’s economic development climate, and I view their model as a very accessible tool to study and analyze. We as policymakers are faced with a number of pressing issues, and working with transparent and accurate research allows us to make the most appropriate decisions. The members of the Pennsylvania Business Council have partnered together to sponsor research that can be shared and discussed in a civil dialogue.”
Pennsylvania Scorecard project chair and former Pennsylvania Business Council Board Chair John T. Tighe, III, founder and CEO of TMG Health, explained, “This is a unique project. Groups in other states do something like it, but never before have Pennsylvania policymakers, media, and the public been provided with a collection of objective and transparent data to form a picture the state’s business climate.”
The Pennsylvania Scorecard performance measurement tool is web-based and available to everyone at www.pascorecard.com. The website uses a database of 51 metrics to assess state competitiveness on the eight factors: budget and spending; education and workforce; energy and natural resources; healthcare; infrastructure; labor; legal and regulatory climate; quality of life; and taxes explained Tighe. “Simply put,” said Tighe, “these statistics suggest the things Pennsylvania could to spur private sector job growth.”
The metrics were chosen from factors used by site selection consultants and validated by the senior executives who make-up the PBC Policy Roundtable. “These are the factors firms consider when they decide to locate, expand, or close facilities,” said Tighe.
Tighe said, “The PBC Foundation plans to update the database continually. As new data become available they will be added to the database making the website ‘evergreen.’”
“PBC developed the Pennsylvania Scorecard to make readily available relevant and timely data that display Pennsylvania’s absolute and relative position consistently over time. We sought to identify broad-based metrics, with a focus on those influenced by state policy. The website also provides complete data sets that allow researchers to download data and perform their own analysis.” PBC plans to update the database continuously.
“There are factors like location and climate that are important to some business decisions,” said Tighe, “but out of the hands of policymakers. We want to provide a guide to Pennsylvania lawmakers and governors for making Pennsylvania a better place to locate and grow a job-creating business.”
PBC Foundation Vice Chair Mark Haas, director of state government affairs for PECO, said, “This project provides a tool for policymakers and the citizens of Pennsylvania to engage in a serious conversation about our economy and job creation.”
Haas said the members of PBC hope that lawmakers will look to the data to find the “low hanging fruit” from which they can develop legislation to make Pennsylvania a more business-friendly state. “Some lawmakers will seize on the tax data for inspiration; others will gravitate to the education and workforce data. There are many paths to a more competitive Pennsylvania. We can’t do everything at once, but this tool offers many ideas for improving our jobs climate.
Scott C. Rogers, president of The Glatfelter Agency and treasurer of the Pennsylvania Business Council, said the Pennsylvania Scorecard, as the name implies, “… really tells us how we are doing as a state and the impact of public policy decisions on the competitive of Pennsylvania. The data will show the impact of public policy. With blogs and commentary we will suggest to policymaker how proposals could help or harm Pennsylvania’s standing among the other states.”
“Those hoping the Pennsylvania Scorecard will either validate the job policymakers are doing or vilify our leaders will be disappointed,” said Rogers. “The data are an objective assessment of Pennsylvania without thought to politics or ideology. They simply show that in some ways, Pennsylvania compares well to other states and in other ways the Commonwealth compares poorly. There is always more work to do.”
PBC President & CEO David W. Patti said, “Among the highlights: Pennsylvania is on a solid fiscal foundation compared to most states with low state spending relative to gross state product (the sum of economic activity in the state, comparable to gross national product) and the Commonwealth compares very favorably to other state on many factors of education, graduation rate, and degree attainment.”
“In contrast, Pennsylvania lags other states significantly in infrastructure and business tax policy, and regulatory costs such as unemployment compensation tax rates and workers compensation premiums, according to the study.”
According to Senator Mensch, the Pennsylvania Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus was “born from an interest to grow jobs and strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy .… [It] examines ways to break down barriers that hinder economic expansion within the Commonwealth. Only with a better understanding of what shapes our economic climate, encourages investment and which factors enable continued workforce development, can Pennsylvania unlock its true economic potential.”
Senator Boscola said, “Jobs are not Democratic or Republican. The economy is not a partisan issue. I am happy to partner with Senator Mensch and all lawmakers to make Pennsylvania a better place for business and a better place to create private-sector jobs.”
PBC previously in 2008 and 2010 published meta-analyses – studies of studies – that showed Pennsylvania in the middle of the pack among 50 states for factors of business climate and competitiveness; scoring very well on some factors and very poorly on others, but close to the national median for most. Patti said methodological limitations of the meta-analysis caused the organization to develop its own model that can be maintained annually for years to come.
We believe that policymakers should adopt the perspective of Pennsylvania’s great businesses,” said Rogers, “Pennsylvania needs to focus on ‘continuous improvement.’ No matter how good we are today, we have to be more competitive next year because the global economy is always changing.”
A few examples of improvement as demonstrated by the data:
- PA state expenditures of state funds as a percent of gross state product improved from 20th in the nation in 2009 to 17th in nation in 2012 at 6.89%.
- PA state expenditures of state funds per capita ranked 18th in the nation in 2012 at $3.24. Rank improved 3 places from 2009.
- PA’s 8th grade math proficiency as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) ranked 7th in the nation in 2013. Rank improved 3 places from 2009.
- PA bachelor’s degree attainment ranked 24th in the nation in 2011 at 27 percent. Rank improved 2 places from 2009.
- PA advanced degree attainment ranked 17th in the nation in 2012 at 10.9 percent. Rank improved 1 place from 2009.
- In 2012, Pennsylvania had 302.1 doctors per 100,000 population ranking 8th among the 50 states and improving 1 place from 2009.
- PA’s state sales tax rate of 6% ranks 25th among the states. The rank improved 1 place from 2009 because another state increased rates.
- PA’s Unemployment Comp tax rate improved 4 places in national rank from 2009 to 2014. But Pennsylvania is ranked 41st indicating there is still more work to do
The Pennsylvania Scorecard model, database, and summary report were developed for the Pennsylvania Business Council by Michael E. Greenberg, Ph.D. – associate professor of political science at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania – and Kathy Woolever, CAE. – founder and president of Datalytics, Inc. The website was designed and built by Chris Falkenstein, owner of The Web Projects.
You can review data and findings at www.pascorecard.com.
The PBC Policy Roundtable, like its national counterpart in Washington, is a forum in which corporate senior executives meet on a peer-to-peer basis to formulate public policy proposals to the most pressing issues of competitiveness. The Policy Roundtable provides senior executives the opportunity to interact extensively with policymakers, policy experts, media, and other stakeholders; participate in policy evaluation; vote on long-term public policy strategy; and guide policy education/advocacy efforts. Corporate Chairpersons, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and Presidents are invited to become members of the PBC Policy Roundtable.
The PBC Education Foundation is a charitable organization approved by the IRS under section 501(c)(3) of the Code (EIN 20-0771774). The PBC Education Foundation is registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Charitable Organizations (certificate 36887). The PBC Education Foundation stimulates and encourages Pennsylvania citizens, and especially business persons, to take a more active part in civic and political affairs. The PBC Education Foundation commissions research, publishes reports and conducts seminars to disseminate unbiased information on issues of public policy and civic affairs. The PBC Education Foundation does not advocate the adoption of any public policy proposal, or the election or defeat of any candidate. The PBC Education Foundation works for increased and better informed citizen participation.