Local lawmakers offered mixed reviews on a bill that passed virtually unnoticed last week through the General Assembly, giving companies that hire more workers a tax incentive.
Under the legislation, 95 percent of state income taxes paid by workers would go to the company, not the state.
"It absolutely means less money going to Harrisburg," said state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, who voted against the bill.
But that's not exactly a bad thing, according to other lawmakers.
After all, the intent of the bill, to lure California-based software maker Oracle to State College, should not be overlooked.
"The key to this is new jobs coming to Pennsylvania," said state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township. "We aren't giving anything away. Oracle is a Fortune 500 company. That would be a huge plus to Pennsylvania. We need them to come here to produce jobs."
Under the bill's provisions, employers that want to take advantage of the program must hire 250 or more new full-time workers and provide them with health insurance. In addition, employee wages must exceed those of the county where the company is located.
In exchange, the business annually could absorb up to $5 million of their employees' income taxes.
Yaw, who voted in favor of the bill, said it's the sort of tax incentive that should have been done long ago.
"Before any business can gain any tax break, they have to produce jobs," he added.
Mirabito said it's the kind of plan that will pit states against each other in vying for jobs.
In addition, he said companies can use the money they pocket from state income taxes and apply the revenues toward bonus money to lure new hirees.
"You can offer a bonus of 3.07 percent (the state's income tax rate) to a potential hiree, which is actually the hiree's own money," he said. "There are other ways to find incentives for job creation than this type of program because this has a lot of problems."
Everett, who voted in favor of the legislation, said it serves as a means to provide incentives for companies to locate in the state.
"We are telling companies that we will lighten their tax load," he said.