Bizzarro, House Democratic Policy Committee analyze ways to grow Pa. economy

ERIE, March 25 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from business leaders and representatives from the tourism industry about Pennsylvania’s economy and potential for job growth at a hearing requested by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie.

"House Democrats are committed to finding ways to help create jobs across the state," Bizzarro said. "Today’s discussion with various business professionals will help shape new ideas and policies concerning how to grow the commonwealth’s economy."

The hearing held at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie also focused on Governor Tom Wolf’s "Jobs That Pay" proposal as part of his 2015-16 state budget plan. The proposal would help build up Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector by providing assistance to companies that create high-paying jobs; provide increased funds to employee training programs for Pennsylvania workers; and help businesses partner with colleges and universities, among other things.

"Under the previous administration, Pennsylvania’s job growth rate sank to nearly last in the country," Bizzarro said. "Thankfully, Governor Wolf recognizes the importance of creating and maintaining jobs that help families put food on the table and teach our children that they can succeed if they work hard. I look forward to working with the governor, as well as my House colleagues, to ensure we do all that we can to rebuild our economy."

Bizzarro also noted potentially untapped resources to help market tourism opportunities, such as those provided at Erie’s Presque Isle State Park. Tourism is one of the state’s largest industries, providing a total economic impact of nearly $33 billion on the state’s economy and supporting more than 450,000 jobs.

State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, co-chaired today’s hearing.

"I applaud Representative Bizzarro for highlighting this important issue at such a critical time for our state," Sturla said. "Pennsylvania now has the opportunity to correct past mistakes and move forward with policies designed to benefit our middle class and dedicated workers."

Testifiers included Jill Foys, executive director, Northwest Commission; John Oliver, president and CEO, Visit Erie; Brian Pitzer, executive director, All Aboard Erie; and Jake Rouch, vice president of economics, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.

For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, please visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee