HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) — On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro signed an executive order, creating a “one-stop shop” for businesses looking to grow and succeed in the commonwealth. It’s the second executive order signed by Shapiro since he was sworn in one week ago.
Shapiro says navigating the licensing, permitting, and funding processes can be difficult, creating unnecessary delays and burdens. After today’s order, Shapiro says the commonwealth is one step closer to eliminating some of those burdens.
The order created the Office of Transformation and Opportunity. The new office will be tasked with developing and leading a job growth strategy and will coordinate with state agencies to reduce regulatory burdens.
“The Office of Transformation and Opportunity will be that one-stop shop for businesses to help streamline bureaucracy cut through the red tape,” said Gov. Shapiro. “My message to companies and workers is clear. Pennsylvania wants you here. We want you to be part of our growth and creating opportunity for all Pennsylvanians, and that work starts today,” he added.
The goal is to expedite the permitting, approval and funding processes, which are often handled by different state agencies.
“If you want to grow your business or invest in Pennsylvania, you’re not going to need to go to five different agencies anymore,” said Gov. Shapiro. “Pennsylvania needs a government that works more quickly, that is able to figure out a way to get to ‘Yes.’ Pennsylvania has the opportunity to be a leader among the states,” Shapiro added.
Business leaders were happy to see the order signed, and said reform is far overdue.
“From our outdated permitting process and regulatory environment to our antiquated tax structure, Pennsylvania has fallen behind,” said Luke Bernstein, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber, adding that today’s order will help the Commonwealth catch up, and be ready to compete in the future. “Creating a long-term sustaining futuristic strategy that will drive economic growth and job creation throughout the Commonwealth,” said Bernstein.
Employers agree and say when Pennsylvania businesses succeed, everybody succeeds.
“We believe that when you invest in people and in family sustaining jobs, you are making the best possible investment in your company’s future,” said Grace McGregor, Director of Strategy and Operations at McGregor Industries in Dunmore, Pa. “When small businesses and manufacturers like us succeed and do well, Pennsylvania does well,” she added.
Shapiro announced Ben Kirshner will serve as the Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer.
“As a CEO, I know what it takes to entice a business to relocate and remain in the Commonwealth. I am aware of the issues that need immediate consideration in order to attract companies and jobs to Pennsylvania Now, as Chief Transformation Officer, I will lead the Administration’s efforts in streamlining processes for businesses to navigate multiple agencies in Pennsylvania,” said Kirshner. “I am proud to serve our business community and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
“We are planting a flag here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today and saying we are open for business and we are ready to compete,” said Shapiro.
Today’s order also creates the Economic Development Strategy Group. The group will advise Gov. Shapiro on businesses development efforts and will focus on economic growth in underserved communities.