As part of efforts to improve the local and state economy, Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) and Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) today discussed bipartisan legislation to help attract large-scale manufacturers to the northeastern part of Pennsylvania to rebuild the middle class.

“We have a real opportunity to bring an economic boom to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area and the state for decades to come,” Kaufer said. “We have already tapped the abundant, affordable and accessible natural gas that lies under our feet. Now we need to take advantage of the downstream opportunities to make sure this valuable and in-demand resource is processed at a world-class manufacturing facility right here in northeastern Pennsylvania for worldwide distribution.”

The northeastern part of the state features an abundant, accessible and affordable supply of dry natural gas, primarily methane, that can be used in various goods, such as petrochemicals and fertilizers.

“The Marcellus Shale boom has perfectly positioned Pennsylvania to be a leader in natural gas production and value-added manufacturing,” said Yudichak. “We stand united, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as representatives of northeastern Pennsylvania to fight for billions of dollars in private investments and the thousands of building trade jobs that will be leveraged by the creation of the Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.”

The credit would be available to new manufacturers that construct and bring a facility into service, expends at least $1 billion in capital investments and creates at least 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Kaufer’s House Bill 1100, and a companion bill to be introduced in the Senate, would mirror the successful Pennsylvania Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit (PARMA) credit that attracted the Shell petrochemical “Cracker” plant to Beaver County. This summer, more than 6,000 trades workers will be on-site, working to build that plant.

“This would be a tremendous project for the building trades in northeastern Pennsylvania and would bring family-sustaining jobs with health benefits and would allow for the continuation of our apprenticeship program, which doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything,” said Warren Faust, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council.

The economic impact would be felt well beyond those who work on the site during the construction phase and when its operational.

“A facility of this magnitude would be a boost to our overall economy. Businesses, ranging from retailers to locally owned mom-and-pop stores, would feel the positive economic effect of these workers and employees spending their hard-earned money here,” said John Augustine III, president and CEO of Penn’s Northeast.

To view pictures from the press conference, click here.