Longietti details Mercer County priorities in meeting with the governor

HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Mark Longietti met with Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday to discuss issues of importance to residents of the 7th Legislative District in Mercer County. Longietti told the governor that jobs and economic development, education, and workforce development are top priorities.

 

Specifically, Longietti advocated for expansion of City Revitalization Improvements Zones (CRIZ) to smaller cities like Sharon, Farrell and Hermitage; and an expansion of a CRIZ pilot program to include smaller boroughs, like Greenville.

 

CRIZ uses state tax revenue received from jobs created by an economic development project to help finance the project. Longietti also stressed that financially distressed communities under Act 47 need to be a priority in CRIZ legislation, so places like Farrell and Greenville can rebuild their tax base.

 

In regard to education, Longietti emphasized the importance of investing state dollars in quality early childhood education programs. Longietti said every dollar invested produces a return of $7 to $17 through reduced special education and juvenile delinquency costs and, ultimately, the receipt of more state tax revenue as educated people become productive workforce members.

 

According to Longietti, a collection of studies shows nearly 90 percent of a child’s brain connections are formed by age 5 and it becomes very difficult to make up lost ground if a child misses that development.

 

Finally, Longietti discussed the importance of workforce development to make sure prospective workers have the right skills to land a good-paying job.

 

“We need to align our education and training systems to the jobs of the present and future, so our citizens and our communities can thrive,” Longietti said.

 

He also reminded the governor that Mercer County is part of the first interstate workforce development region in the country, the OH-PENN Interstate Region, and that steps need taken to encourage cooperation with Ohio to further develop the workforce for the region.

 

“I thank Gov. Wolf for his concern about the people of Mercer County and for lending an attentive ear to our community needs,” Longietti said. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with him in the years ahead to help our communities thrive.”