Perception v. Reality Check on Pennsylvania’s Economy

Yesterday, Elizabeth noted how Pennsylvania lost 13,000 college-educated millennials to other states in 2015. Overall, Pennsylvania lost 45,000 residents in interstate migration last year.

Why are millennials and families fleeing the state?

According to Gov. Wolf, it is because of a bad “perception” of the state.

This mirrors comments he made two years ago that the biggest problem facing Pennsylvania is our low self-esteem.

Respectfully, that’s just wrong.

Millennials aren’t leaving Pennsylvania because they perceive there are more job opportunities in other states; they are leaving because there are more job opportunities in other states.

Pennsylvania has a reputation for having a high tax burden and unfriendly business climate—not because of poor marketing but because we do have a high tax burden and unfriendly business climate. 

The big-government approach of tax, spend, borrow, and regulate has stifled job growth and economic opportunity in Pennsylvania.

Vape shops are closing because of a new vape tax. Soft drink companies and merchants are laying off workers because of the Philadelphia soda tax. Pennsylvania can’t attract corporations because of our second-highest-in-the-industrialized-world corporate tax rate. Families are leaving for lower-tax states because of our 15th-highest-in-the-nation state and local tax burden.

This isn’t perception; it’s reality.

To turn our commonwealth around, we need to reinvent government and unleash the private sector. Then, we’ll see an environment that welcomes—not drives away—families and millennials.