The Commonwealth can and should play a critical role when it comes to recruiting new businesses, assisting already existing businesses and helping to rebuild our beleaguered urban cores. For the past two years, I worked on exactly these issues as a member of Allentown City Council. Prior to that, as an Urban Revitalization Specialist for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, I worked in urban communities in the Lehigh Valley to help to revitalize their economies, bring in new jobs and create strong communities. As such, I believe that I have a unique perspective in this area that the legislature sorely needs.
As State Representative, I promise to:
* Enhance Small Business loan and grant programs: The greatest hurdle any small business owner faces is securing enough funding to start their business. In the current economic climate, credit is tight, and many businesses that could be successful cannot get off the ground. If I am elected, I will fight to restore and enhance programs designed to assist small businesses. Doing so will create more jobs and help to revitalize our communities.
* Expand the Main Street and Elm Street Programs. These programs represent the very best of private-public partnerships; they have helped to create thousands of new jobs across the state and leverage millions in private and public investment. Allentown has two very successful Main Street programs and one very successful Elm Street program. As State Representative, I will fight to create more programs in the Allentown area.
* Support regionalization efforts: Successful regionalization efforts can cut wasteful spending, increase government efficiencies and better use tax dollars. Successful, modern governments are working together to combine efforts whenever possible, and Pennsylvania's governments should absolutely move in that direction. As State Representative, I will work to increase planning dollars for regional efforts and seek to identify and remove impediments that make it harder for municipalities to work together.
* Expand the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP): NPPs give corporate tax credits to businesses that sponsor a neighborhood organization that is seeking to implement a neighborhood revitalization plan. These outstanding programs encourage corporations to make substantial improvements to local neighborhoods and created tremendous successes throughout Allentown and Pennsylvania. As State Representative, I will work to increase funding to this program.