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Federal bill invests in Pa.; state legislative leaders need to do the same | Opinion

The Pa. legislature needs to take action to improve infrastructure, spur job growth, and cut business taxes.

State Rep. Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia) speaks during a news conference in July.
State Rep. Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia) speaks during a news conference in July.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

After four years of false starts and one year of real work, there’s finally a federal bill that mirrors what we’ve been fighting for here in Pennsylvania. It brings real money to our communities and creates jobs that cannot be outsourced.

There will be real investments in connecting every community, large and small, to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband internet. In a world where every kid needs the ability to attend school remotely and every parent needs to book vaccine appointments online, Pennsylvanians can’t be left behind in a dial-up world.

A better rail system — both mass transit and long-distance — will give commuters more options and help get cars off our clogged highways.

There will be investments in American energy independence to support cleaner power generation as part of a comprehensive strategy, and generate fast-growing career options for workers while we do it.

We’ll have infrastructure improvements to make sure when you turn on the tap in your home you get clean, safe water, and when Pennsylvania is struck by extreme weather, storm water recedes quickly, safely, and efficiently to prevent damage from flooding.

» READ MORE: How the Philadelphia region will benefit from Biden’s infrastructure bill

And, of course, when you think “infrastructure,” you think roads and bridges. Ours are in bad shape, so we’re going to make a smoother, safer ride for everyone, and add construction jobs. This, in turn, will add even more jobs, as better infrastructure will make Pennsylvania more attractive to businesses who want to set up shop and hire more people.

But Pa. House Democrats want to be sure the infrastructure bill isn’t the only federal investment in the state — we want to make sure billions in federal COVID-19 funds currently locked away in a government vault are used for what they were meant for: helping people truly recover from the impact of the virus.

The House Democratic Pa. Rescue Plan, introduced last summer, is a roadmap to make sure that federal funding from the American Rescue Plan goes where it does the most for our communities. Instead of socking away those funds, our plan uses the money to help our workers by improving access to childcare, creating a paid sick leave program, and making sure every worker can control their financial future when it comes to retirement.

Finally, House Democrats want to expand on their plan by cutting business taxes. You heard right. House Democrats want to cut business taxes.

Not just any business taxes. We want to cut taxes for the businesses that locate good-paying jobs here, those that invest in our state by expanding their operations and taking risks. We want to cut taxes for the businesses that put Pennsylvania —and Pennsylvanians — first.

“We want to cut taxes for the businesses that put Pennsylvania —and Pennsylvanians — first.”

Joanna McClinton

House Democrats’ new plan — Propel PA — will get the job done and really make a difference.

It would cut taxes for state-based businesses that invest in the community and cut the Corporate Net Income Tax that’s one of the highest in the country.

We also must adjust what the finance folks call “add back provisions” that can end up making Pennsylvania’s mom-and-pop businesses on Main Street pay not just a higher tax rate, but pay more in actual dollars than the big out-of-state chains. Misguided tax policy hurts the very people who can generate most of the job growth in our communities. The Propel PA plan will fix that.

Propel PA’s targeted tax help will make it easier to innovate and create more partnerships between businesses, government, and colleges to spur research and development.

By combining the PA Rescue Plan with the federal legislation and cutting business taxes smartly with Propel PA, we can build a better future — for everyone.

Joanna McClinton is the Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader, representing the 191st district, which includes Philadelphia and Delaware counties.