A Midstate-based research organization says job growth in Pennsylvania has slowed steadily over the past three years and has lagged behind a national economic recovery.
“The economy nationally is doing better, but Pennsylvania's economy is doing better more slowly,” said economist Dr. Stephen Herzenberg of the Keystone Research Center.
The center found that Pennsylvania ranked 48th in state job growth last year, compared to seventh in 2010.
“The responsibility lies squarely with state policy makers, which means the governor and the legislature,” said Herzenberg.
He says policy over the last three years of cutting spending has hurt the state's economy, especially the cuts in education.
“When you lay off 20,000 teachers and school employees, they lose their job. They're no longer buying food as much at the local supermarket or spending money at other local businesses,” he said. “That slows down the private sector.”
But wouldn't taxes have to be raised to restore spending cuts, and wouldn't that take money out of people's pockets? Herzenberg says it's corporate taxes that need to be raised.
“Cutting corporate taxes is mostly a waste of money. That's what the research shows,” he said.
Republicans have been in control of the state Capitol over the last three years. They have a different take on things.
“The fact of the matter is what we have done, undoing the damage of the Rendell administration and the Democrat majority, has been to put Pennsylvania back on course and open it up for business,” said House Republican caucus spokesman Steve Miskin, who ticked off a number of private sector projects across the state.
“Urban Outfitters is opening a new headquarters down in Philadelphia and a big distribution center with a $450 million private sector investment,” he said.
Miskin says corporate tax cuts attract business to the state. He also said the federal stimulus put money into the public sector, but never really worked that well.
Herzenberg said the best opportunity for policy change will be next year's elections.