HARRISBURG, June 20, 2012 — State Sen. John N. Wozniak today joined more than 30 representatives of government, labor and business who crowded the stage in the Capitol Media Center today in support of tax breaks needed lure a Shell Chemical ethane “cracker” plant to Beaver County.
Wozniak was joined by Gov. Tom Corbett, state Sens. Tim Solobay and Elder Vogel, along with state labor leaders and business groups for what speakers repeatedly called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to create a new industry in Pennsylvania.
Wozniak said all Pennsylvanians should realize the need to bring manufacturing jobs back to the state.
“I come from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. When I was a young man, 25,000 souls worked in the mills – high paying jobs. The city was filled with stores, department stores and restaurants. I can tell you right now: If you have never experienced the loss of manufacturing jobs, you have no idea of its impact,” he said. “This is an opportunity to bring manufacturing back to Pennsylvania.”
Since details of Pennsylvania’s offer of $1.7 billion in tax credits over 25 years emerged in published accounts, supporters of the deal have defended its cost and pressed for the legislature’s approval before the summer recess.
“I’m here to put both feet into the project,” Wozniak said.
The news conference included a rare coalition of business and labor groups supporting the effort to close the deal with Shell.
Representatives of Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association and the state Chamber of Commerce joined United Steelworkers and Pennsylvania State Building Trades officials in urging quick legislative action to close the deal.
Backers say Shell’s Beaver County proposal will create 10,000 construction jobs along with 500 permanent jobs and 10,000 jobs in spin-off industries. It could also create a petrochemical hub that would attract a growing number of similar proposals.