February 23, 2011 – Today Senate Democrats unveiled “PA Works” – a 6-point plan which has potential to spur the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania. PA Works will reduce state spending by $150 million while giving businesses incentive to make significant community investments.

Over the past several months, Senate Democrats have stressed the need to work aggressively to bring more jobs to Pennsylvania. While aware of the trying budget process which awaits the legislature in the coming weeks, all members of the Democratic caucus agree that jobs must remain the number one priority in Harrisburg.

“We know that there is a move afoot to make significant cuts as we approach a daunting budget shortfall. We understand the reality we face,” said Sen. Jay Costa, Democratic Leader. “We will also continue to remind our colleagues of the role job growth plays in our recovery. It is imperative that we continue to look at the big picture and make wise investments in our future to speed our economic recovery in Pennsylvania.”

“This is about efficiency and making things happen despite having fewer resources. It’s something that Pennsylvania families and business owners know about firsthand,” said Democratic Appropriations Chairman Vincent Hughes. “This isn’t rocket science. It’s about investing the necessary time, effort, and critical thought. It’s what Pennsylvanians are looking for from their leaders.”

The plan focuses on 6 key areas: Small Business, Workforce Training, Critical State Investments, Clean and Green Energy, Infrastructure Investment, and Tax Fairness.

PA Works uses innovative ideas that will spur job creation, promote a business-friendly environment, and expand business opportunity. Senate Democrats believe every issue and every decision made in the coming months should be gauged by its impact on job creation and retention.

PA Works was crafted to avoid new spending where possible and to increase efficiency and eliminate redundancy in state government.

“We have to be a better friend to small business owners. They are the engine which drives our recovery,” said Sen. Wayne Fontana, Democratic Chair of the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee. “If we provide a more comfortable climate for them in Pennsylvania, they will be much more willing to make the investments which our communities so desperately need right now.”

“I know firsthand that our current economic development incentives are effective and important to our business community across the state but there are several areas where improvement is necessary and urgent,” said Senator John Blake, former Acting Secretary of PA’s Department of Community and Economic Development. “Taking the existing programs that we have and making them even more responsive to private-sector initiative is something that will not only save taxpayers’ money, but it will bring the returns on investment that taxpayers demand and deserve.”

PA WORKS will spur the creation of over 28,000 jobs and leverage over $2 billion in new private investment. PA WORKS will result in more than $150 million in general fund savings.

In the coming weeks, members of the Senate Democratic Caucus will be introducing several pieces of legislation which forward each component of the PA Works plan.