HARRISBURG – Legislation that would require additional review of the costs and benefits of Pennsylvania's tax-free Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZs) was unanimously passed by the House on Monday.
Senator David G. Argall (R-29) led the effort to amend Senate Bill 1237 in the Senate to require Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development to compile extensive information for the General Assembly regarding KOZs.
Argall, whose 2006 doctoral dissertation focused on the pros and cons of KOZs as an economic development tool, said this is a major step towards creating a better job climate in Pennsylvania for job creators.
"The requirement for the Department of Community and Economic Development to report additional data every year on tax-free zones is a win for taxpayers and job creators alike," said Argall. "This new requirement in Senate Bill 1237 began at a Pottsville public hearing in 2011 when constituents wanted better reporting when assessing KOZs as a way to create jobs. Passage of this bill will make it much easier to assess these important job-creation figures on a statewide level to ensure we are as economically competitive as possible."
Senator Argall's amendment will make DCED monitor the following:
· Verifiable job creation and job retention data,
· Information on the types of jobs created and average hourly wages,
· Number of years in the program,
· Annual, unduplicated public and private capital investment amounts,
· Business type and description,
· Types and amounts of other economic development assistance received from DCED, and
· Documentation that proper participants identified as relocations meet the increased full-time employment, increased capital investment or lease agreement requirements.
The legislation now moves to the Governor's desk for his signature.