A new report on all 50 states' online disclosure of companies receiving tax breaks, grants and other job creation subsidies indicates Pennsylvania ranks 10th but has "a great deal of room for further improvement."
Stephen Herzenberg, economist and executive director of the Keystone Research Center, says this new report from Washington, D.C.-based Good Jobs First, reinforces his organization's study earlier this year of economic development disclosure. Herzenberg says both reports come to the same conclusion that Pennsylvania is better than most states in providing public information on what companies get subsidies from the state to create jobs....
"But we can do a lot better, building on a platform that was created in the (Governor Tom) Ridge Administration, an online site where you can get a lot of information like...'did companies actually create jobs, what did they pay.' We have a real opportunity to build on strength and have disclosure and transparency that is a model for the nation."
Herzenberg says this is a natural issue for the new governor...."this administration has a chance to create a second generation transparency database and really deliver the accountability that candidate Corbett promised and again that Pennsylvanians want."
Herzenberg says this type of information is especially important now when tough budget decisions are being made......
"We're in a situation where there are going to be cuts in economic development programs. This is the time to take a hard look at the ways the state tries to create jobs."
He says citizens have a right to know whether the companies that get taxpayer-financed subsidies actually deliver in job creation.