What is One of the Best Business Incentives?

Not everyone wants money.  Really you might say?  What do I mean by that?  Not every company who is interested in a new business location or in expanding their business wants a business loan from the state – no matter what the interest rate.  Whether it is an issue of timing, having adequate capital in hand, not being able to meet the job creation or other threshold requirements, not everyone wants or can utilize state financing.

So, what is one of the best incentives that Pennsylvania can offer companies?  I would suggest that streamlined, predictable, and coordinated permit review is one of, if not the most meaningful incentives that can be offered. 

In addition to being the Vice President at GREP, I am the current President of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association (PEDA), the statewide association of local, state, corporate and non-profit economic development professionals.  PEDA’s mission is to promote sound economic development policies, provide leading-edge economic development education and nurture an effective statewide economic development network to foster the economic growth of the Commonwealth.

For several years, we have been discussing streamlining the permitting process as an important step for the Commonwealth.  Excessive permitting timelines and onerous regulations – associated with various state agencies – result in increased project timeframes and costs, impairing economic growth and job creation.  Due to the uncertainty caused by these increases, investment and related jobs are often sacrificed and Pennsylvania communities’ competitiveness is negatively impacted. 

It is not about cutting corners and ending up with projects that violate established ordinances.  It is about a clear and consistently applied permit review process that is of benefit to everyone.

Permit applications that are analyzed and considered more efficiently and effectively afford a reasonable degree of comfort and certainty that the timing and expenses associated with the permitting processes will be more predictable.

Streamlining the permitting process and expediting  collaborative inter-agency review for high priority economic development projects raises the level of economic prosperity in all our communities.  It keeps us competitive – no incentive money involved.