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  • Writer's picturePA State Rep. Joe Emrick

It’s Time to Open Opportunities on Main Street

Recognizing governmental burdens should never deter Pennsylvanians from pursuing their own path to prosperity, House Republicans are pushing the Legislature to act on the “Main Street Entrepreneurship Initiative.” The package of bills, led by House Commerce Committee Republican Chair Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Northampton), would make the dream of owning one’s own business, and growing it here in Pennsylvania, more accessible for every person in the Commonwealth.


“Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the backbone of our communities,” Emrick said. “They are the ones investing in our Main streets, hiring our friends and neighbors, and making our communities great places to live. We owe it to every Pennsylvanian to make it as simple as possible to chase their dream and grow their business.”


According to a national study of new businesses and start-ups, Pennsylvania’s rate of entrepreneurship is nearly 50% lower than the national average and has been stagnant below the national average for more than 25 years.


To address this growing concern, and in recognition of National Entrepreneurship Week, House Republicans are introducing the following legislation:


• Entrepreneurship Week Resolution (Emrick): Would recognize the week of Feb. 10-17, 2024, as “Entrepreneurship Week in Pennsylvania.”


• Business Filing Fee Waiver (Rep. Joe D’Orsie, R-York): Would waive the filing fees for first-time entrepreneurs during the business formation process through the Department of State.


• Stay in PA Business Grants and Loans Fee Waiver (Rep. Donna Scheuren, R-Montgomery): Would require businesses receiving grants and loans through the Commonwealth to maintain operations and employees within the Commonwealth.


• Commonwealth Procurement Possibilities for New Entrepreneurs (Rep. Mike Armanini, R-Clearfield/Elk): Would establish a “set-aside” within the existing program to target small and disadvantaged businesses established within the prior three years.


• New Business Ombudsman (Emrick): Would establish a start-up ombudsman within the One-Stop Shop Office within the Department of Community and Economic Development to assist startup businesses with securing the necessary documents and accounts needed to operate in Pennsylvania. 


• Spearheading Entrepreneurship Education (Rep. Marla Brown, R-Lawrence): Would establish a statewide program to fund entrepreneurship education at community colleges, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and colleges that provide technical training. 


• Fair Protections for Entrepreneurs (Scheuren): Would modernize the bankruptcy exemption statute to provide fair protections for entrepreneurs’ assets, including primary residences and other necessities of life. 


“For the vast majority of Pennsylvanians, the path to prosperity is found on Main Street, not Wall Steet,” added Emrick. “These are common sense steps to ensure job creators who want to improve opportunities here can do so, and not continue to cross state lines to places where it is easier to turn your ideas into businesses that can have a multi-generational impact.” 


House Republicans have an extensive track record of working to reduce the burden on job creators, leading to large-scale investment across multiple sectors of our economy. This package of legislation proves small business owners and entrepreneurs will continue to be a top priority for the caucus.


“As someone with nearly 30 years of business experience in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I know how important and how valuable entrepreneurs are to our state’s model for success,” said Scheuren. “That’s why within this package of bills, I’ve proposed two pieces of legislation that protect entrepreneurs and businesses in Pennsylvania. My first piece of legislation would require businesses receiving loans and grants from the Commonwealth, to commit to staying here. My second proposed bill would modernize Pennsylvania's bankruptcy exemption statute to provide fair protections for entrepreneurs’ assets, including primary residences and other necessities of life. Entrepreneurs are one of Pennsylvania’s greatest assets and their existence is vital to our state’s ability to grow and evolve for the better. Therefore, I sincerely hope this legislative package will keep both in Pennsylvania and help to open even more doors to economic prosperity.” 

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