Health - February 20, 2015

Pennsylvanians View Economy in a Positive Light

For the first time since the onset of the Great Recession, Pennsylvanians view the economy as either “excellent” or “good,” according to a recent poll conducted by Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion.  Meanwhile, in another question, 33 percent of respondents indicated that the quality of life in Pennsylvania is getting “better.”  Longitudinally, this is the highest response rate since the poll question’s creation in 2003.This comes on the heels of a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics at the end of January that cites Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate at 4.8 percent (the lowest since 2008).  In almost every sector of the economy—including manufacturing, mining and construction—job growth was reported.  It remains to be seen whether this trend will persist; the latest employment data from February is not scheduled to be released for another two weeks.


Upstate New York towns to research succession to Pennsylvania

In an attempt to improve local economies, the Upstate New York Towns Association has begun a cost-benefit analysis of seceding from the state of New York in favor of joining Pennsylvania.  While the 15 municipalities included in the study rest on the Pennsylvania border in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties, the names of the specific municipalities have yet to be released.

The towns being studied have seen a decrease in the number of small businesses and higher unemployment and higher state taxes in comparison to Pennsylvania.  Yet, these municipalities have rich natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale that are not being drilled, due to a statewide moratorium.  Because Pennsylvania has no such moratorium on private property, the report will examine the economic impact of natural gas drilling.  Moreover, the report will compare the cost of doing business and tax rates.  Preliminary results indicate that there is a stark contrast between the two states.

In order for the towns to legally secede, however, the New York State Assembly, Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Federal Government would need to approve this plan.  Similar plans have been proposed previously that create the independent state of Upstate New York; all of which have been met with mixed approval.