(The Center Square) – Before the pandemic hit, Pennsylvania’s economy had grown steadily for a decade – but its population had not. Population loss has both political and economic consequences.
At the federal level, Pennsylvania’s influence will lag behind. The state lost a congressional district through net emigration from the state. The future of economic growth could also collapse, as natives and would-be emigrants from other states turn to cultivation areas from the South and the West.
One of the ways to attract more people is tax reform.
“The Taxpayer Protection Act (TPA), House Bill 71 can reduce our tax burden and improve our fiscal stability,” fact sheet of the Commonwealth Foundation argued. “This limits the rate at which state government spending can increase. These limits would allow the state to accumulate its rains day funds.
Pennsylvania lost at least 30,000 people a year between 2013 and 2016, the Commonwealth Foundation noted. A bright spot has been international migrants, 274,000 of whom have moved to Pennsylvania since 2010, helping to offset population losses.
“An influx of domestic migrants is crucial to the economic future of the state as the population continues to age,” argued the Commonwealth Foundation.
Low taxes can benefit businesses and workers, as can a low cost of living. This has benefited states like North Carolina, Arizona, and Texas, for example. The relatively low cost of living in Philadelphia also attracted people from New York and other major cities on the East Coast. While staying in New York or Washington, DC keeps many people renting, they can afford to buy a home in a city like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania may also have to strive to promote itself as a place to live, both for cities and for small towns in rural areas.
“If your city actually has good jobs and the right kind of low cost of living, maybe the inability to attract and retain talent is a failure to tell your story in a modern, engaging way,” Dustin McKissen wrote for Governing magazine.