Baker Knoll talks about growth and development at SCCBA dinner

Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania Catherine Baker Knoll made a special trip to Tyrone yesterday for the quarterly South Central Counties Boroughs’ Association dinner/meeting.
Following the meal at the Bull Pen Restaurant, Knoll discussed the opportunities for growth in Northern Blair County, and the vision she sees for the future.
Topping her list of speech topics, Knoll touched on the reopening of the paper mill.
“I know you’ve recently had a wonderful boost to the region with the reopening of the former Tyrone paper mill – the new American Eagle Paper Mills,” said Knoll. “This is a tremendous success story for Tyrone and certainly for the county and I am so glad that Gov. (Ed) Rendell was able to get you that $3 million grant for the mill’s reopening.”
Knoll said one of the biggest challenges Pennsylvania faces is creating jobs and business growth that will sustain the communities,
She said the commonwealth’s “friction free” government has dedicated countless programs and organizations to help Pennsylvania business succeed. She said she and Gov. Rendell have been working hand-in-hand to offer much more.
“On March 4, the governor presented his budget to the General Assembly and on March 25, he presented a a detailed plan for moving Pennsylvania in a new direction – making sure that Pennsylvania experiences lasting economic success,” said Knoll. “It is a responsible and proactive plan, one that is focused on building a new Pennsylvania.”
According to Knoll, Rendell’s economic stimulus piece of his plan invests $2 billion in economic and community development programs for all across the commonwealth. Knoll said these investments are crucial to Pennsylvania’s future.
“The governor believes, as I do, that in order for Pennsylvania to compete with our neighbors and with the rest of the world for jobs and business, we must make substantial investments in site preparation, infrastructure, construction, housing and business growth,” said Knoll. “To compliment the state’s funds, we’re going to leverage at least another $5 billion in private sector investments.”
Knoll said the plan calls for “substantial” investment to improve the business climate, spur private sector growth, revitalize the housing, and rebuild infrastructure. She said over the years, Pennsylvania has lost thousands of potential jobs and hundred of opportunities because it simply didn’t have a business climate.
“It is absolutely essential that we use the limited funding that we have, especially in the face of our grim fiscal situation, to have the greatest possible impact on the lives of Pennsylvanians,” she said.
Knoll said everyone recognizes the need for a strong, prosperous economy, and that Pennsylvania cannot afford to wait for change to happen. She said in Pennsylvania, we have a choice and that she hopes we will choose to effect change and put the commonwealth on the path to lasting economic success.
The state budget has yet to pass, and this is something Knoll spoke about. She said Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation not to have a budget passed at this time.
“As president of the Senate, it pains me to have to admit that fact,” she said. “It’s embarrassing. But I know we will get there – soon.
“Earlier this week, the state House of Representatives took an important bipartisan step towards implementing Governor Rendell’s Plan for a ‘New Pennsylvania’.
“They approved substantial new investment in public education and the mechanism for a historic reduction in local property taxes; restoration of some of the most severe cuts in social-service programs; and new revenue sources to help fund key programs. This was an important first step,” she said.
“Let me say that again – it was an important first step.”