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At luncheon speech, Pa. governor touts Franklin County's potential

April 04, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett speaks in Chambersburg, Pa., Wednesday at a "Rally for Business" hosted by state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, the Franklin County Area Development Corp., and the Franklin County Council of Chambers.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Addressing economic concerns in a speech Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett told a  crowd he believes that Franklin County is poised for future growth and job creation.

The governor said he has even discussed Franklin and neighboring Adams counties with European business leaders looking to relocate to the United States.

Corbett also said he knows of Maryland workers commuting daily from the southern portions of Pennsylvania. He said former Maryland Gov.Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.has expressed envy to him regarding Pennsylvania’s economic climate.

“The people are looking for where the taxes are lowest,” Corbett said.

Corbett, a Republican who took office in 2011, spoke at a “Rally for Business” hosted by state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, the Franklin County Area Development Corp., and the Franklin County Council of Chambers.

The event at The Orchards drew about 250 people.

“I think his focus on jobs is right on as far as what we need to do to fix the economy,” said William Snell, president and chief executive officer of F&M Trust.

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Snell said he was pleased to hear of Corbett’s recent trip to France and Germany, where the governor said he talked to business leaders about investing in Pennsylvania.

Corbett, who did not take questions, talked about economic factors that cannot be controlled, such as unrest in oil-rich countries overseas, and factors that can be controlled, including the regulatory climate and taxes.

“I made the promise I wouldn’t raise taxes, and I’m keeping to it,” Corbett said.

Public welfare makes up 38.9 percent of the state’s $27.1 billion budget and kindergarten-through-12th-grade education another 40 percent, Corbett said. Those two items, coupled with debt service and corrections, account for 90 percent of the budget, he said.

Corbett’s proposed 2012-13 budget and his cuts last year drew about a dozen protesters outside the restaurant. They represented a variety of causes.

Michelle Book from Huntingdon County, Pa., and Sharon Jumper from Chambersburg held signs and wore purple on behalf of Service Employees International Union’s health care workers.

Jumper, who works at Chambersburg Hospital, said she wants to urge Corbett to stop the budget cuts.

Dr. Larry Sylvester from Future Vision had never heard Corbett speak in person before. He appreciated the efforts to support and grow businesses, but has concerns about state funding for K-12 schools and the State System of Higher Education, Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh and Temple University.

“Education, to me, is key. I’ve been disappointed in his budgets from the educational standpoint,” Sylvester said.

“When I walked in the door (early last year), the cupboards were bare. ... I don’t like being the guy who says we can’t spend money,” Corbett said in his remarks.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., attended the luncheon and praised Corbett for his work.

“It’s great to have a governor that knows how to create jobs and get the government to balance the books ... Governor, we need you in D.C.,” Shuster said.

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