HARRISBURG, October 19, 2012 – Pointing to today’s announcement that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose again, State Senator Lisa Boscola reiterated her call to prioritize job and economic development investment in Pennsylvania.

“Federal labor statistics clearly reveal that Pennsylvania unemployment rate is moving in the wrong direction,” Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe) said. “While the unemployment number has gone down in 41 states, I’m disappointed that Pennsylvania’s rate climbed to 8.2 percent in September.”

She said today’s bad economic news further underscores the need to develop a comprehensive statewide economic development approach. Even before the unemployment numbers were released, Boscola spoke out on the Senate floor Wednesday, promoting the need to prioritize job creation and economic development initiatives.

“Instead of working together on solutions aimed at helping businesses expand, prosper and get people back to work, the legislature last summer passed a budget that cut state support to job and economic development programs,” Boscola said.

She said it is crucial that the state continue investing in proven programs like the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Small Business Development Centers and other business incubator initiatives that have given the state “such a big bang for our buck.” She said the Ben Franklin Program generates $24 in follow-on financing for every $1 invested.

Boscola added that she hosted Policy Committee hearings in the Lehigh Valley and throughout Pennsylvania over the past two years gathering input from business leaders, economic development experts, labor leaders and workers.

She said Senate Democrats used many of those proposals in legislative packages they called “PA Works” and “PA Works Now” plans. The proposals ranged from Boscola’s school-to-work tax credit legislation to infrastructure projects, training programs and incentives aimed at attracting investment in new and emerging alternative energy projects.

“It’s time to get serious on job creation,” Boscola said on the Senate floor. “It’s time to work cooperatively to get this economy going. In the year ahead, let’s take the additional steps. Let’s give economic development the kind of emphasis and energy it deserves.”

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