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PA Giving Up Tax Revenue to Create 10,000 Construction Jobs

Vintage Shell Logo

In exchange for building a petrochemical plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania — a plant that is slated to create upwards of 10,000 construction jobs — Shell Oil Co. is getting some pretty friendly treatment from the state:

Zero state and local taxes for 15 years.

That’s the deal, plus other incentives under negotiation, that Shell Oil Co. landed to build a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant in Beaver County.

Yet economic development experts and politicians appear to agree that Western Pennsylvania will come out ahead.

“This could mean 8,000 to 10,000 construction jobs. Who’s doing something like that anywhere?” state Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said following Shell’s announcement last week that it signed an option agreement with Horsehead Corp. for its 300-acre zinc smelter property in Potter and Center townships.

“Sometimes you lose tax revenue but in return what you’re getting is a long-term employment opportunity,” Costa said. “I view those lost tax dollars as an investment.”

In addition, the state has included the site of the Beaver County construction in the Keystone Opportunity Zone, “which eliminates the plant’s property taxes along with its corporate net income, capital stock and franchise, and sales and use taxes for 15 years.”

To boot, tangential industries could experience a boost from the new plant development. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes the potential for an uptick in tech jobs:

A study by the American Chemistry Council, completed in August, found that if such a plant were located in Western Pennsylvania, it would eventually spur related industrial developments that would directly employ around 2,400 people at a total annual payroll of $347 million.

Around a quarter of the employees needed would be supervisors, managers, chemists, engineers and information technologists, and many of the rest would be technicians, said Kevin Swift, chief economist for the council.

Ohio and West Virginia had both expressed strong interest in having the plant built in their states.


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