Amazon Passed on Pa. So What’s Next?

Amazon passed on Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for its HQ2, but Pennsylvania has an opportunity to expand the “Amazons” that already exist.

While the job opportunities and economic boost tied to Amazon would have been welcomed, now is the time to take stock of what we do have – of what is driving our economy, pushing our state forward and benefiting all Pennsylvanians: abundant shale gas.

Already, the responsible development of local natural gas has been a winner for the commonwealth. Revenues from the impact fee have generated nearly $1.5 billion since 2012, while Pennsylvania energy development supports more than 300,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributes $45 billion to the state economy, according to a PwC analysis.

“We’re talking right now about trying to attract Amazon to Pennsylvania, and I certainly applaud the work that’s being done,” MSC president Dave Spigelmyer remarked in April. “But I will tell you, folks don’t realize that we’ve brought two or three ‘Amazons’ to Pennsylvania in our shale fields. The investments that have been made here have been extraordinary.”

Pennsylvania shale has the power to propel our economy forward, driving job creation and encouraging manufacturing expansion. With commonsense policies and continued investment in energy infrastructure, according to a McKinsey & Co. report commissioned by the Forge the Future initiative, the commonwealth has the potential to unlock:

  • $60 billion in Pennsylvania GDP growth, an increase of 6-9%
  • The addition of more than 100,000 jobs
  • An influx of at least $2 billion in new state tax revenue

Yet proposed policies to increase energy taxes, add more burdensome regulations, or ban fracking in parts of the state put us on the wrong track and jeopardize the truly generational opportunities tied to energy.

A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial reflecting on Amazon’s decision concluded, “We don’t need to be the next
Seattle. We need to work on being the next Pittsburgh.”

The truth rings clear – we need policies to encourage investment, growth and expansion of what’s already working for Pennsylvania. Energy is a large part of that equation, and with smart, commonsense policies it can drive economic growth capable of overshadowing a multitude of HQ2s.