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Kaufer, Yudichak Tout Plan To Bring More Large Manufacturers To NEPA

By Denise AllabaughMay 17, 2019

AVOCA — Surrounded by trade workers and leaders, State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-120, Kingston and Sen. John Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth Twp. touted bipartisan legislation Thursday that they said would help attract large-scale manufacturers to Northeast Pennsylvania.

Kaufer spoke in favor of legislation he proposed called House Bill 1100, and a companion bill to be introduced in the Senate, that he said would mirror the Pennsylvania Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit that attracted the Shell petrochemical cracker plant to Beaver County.

This summer, more than 6,000 trades workers will be on site working to build that plant.

“House Bill 1100 is an investment not only in our region, but the entire state,” Kaufer said at a news conference held Thursday near Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. “It stands to attract petrochemical manufacturers to the area through incentives that ensure the people will reap the benefit of their investment.”

The incentives are available only to manufacturers that construct and bring a facility into service, spent at least $1 billion in capital investments and create at least 1,000 full-time jobs, Kaufer said.

The program is not a tax abatement program. Tax revenue will be generated throughout the life of the program and it can only be collected after the criteria are met, he said.

Kaufer said the initiative would reestablish the area as a “reenergized economic powerhouse which will have a profound economic impact that will ripple throughout our commonwealth.”

“We have already tapped the abundant, affordable and accessible natural gas that lies under our feet,” he said. “Now we need to take advantage of the downstream opportunities to make sure this valuable and in-demand resource is processed at a world-class manufacturing facility right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania for worldwide distribution.”

Yudichak told airport officials to be ready to expand because “more family-sustaining jobs are coming to Northeastern Pennsylvania,” prompting applause from the crowd who attended the press conference.

“How great is it to see Democrats and Republicans working together for working families,” Yudichak said.

When union workers are hired, he said “the job gets done, family wages go up and our commonwealth gets stronger.”

“Today, we stand united with the building trade unions in the fight to make Northeastern Pennsylvania the eastern hub of the petrochemical manufacturing industry in Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said.

The northeastern part of the state features an abundant, accessible and affordable supply of dry natural gas, primarily methane, that can be used in various goods such as petrochemicals and fertilizers.

John Augustine, president and CEO of Penn’s Northeast, said Pennsylvania is a unique position to be the most competitive state in the U.S. when it comes to manufacturing.

“We have a real opportunity to bring manufacturing business back here to Northeastern Pennsylvania and truly grow our economy with what we’ve been given,” Augustine said. “There’s no reason not to put the men and women behind me to work.”

Warren Faust, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, said the building trades want to partner with everyone involved to ensure that legislation is passed in the House and Senate and gets to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk for passage.

“This is the first step in ensuring large manufacturing facilities will be built in Northeast Pennsylvania,” Faust said. “These manufacturing facilities are complex in nature to build but rest assured, the skilled hands of our building trades members are ready, willing and accept that challenge.”

Contact the writer:

dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh

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