We are back with week three of Broad + Liberty’s Candidate Spotlight Series! Each week, we reach out to candidates all across the Commonwealth up for election to public office — an equal number of Democrats and Republicans; incumbents and challengers. We ask one question per week about public policy pressing to you. Those answers are shared on our website every Wednesday through Sunday.

Earlier this week, we featured responses from our nominees for GovernorU.S. Senator, Lieutenant Governor and the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, Pennsylvania’s nominees for the General Assembly weigh in with our third question.

If you are a candidate for public office in Pennsylvania and would like to participate, please reach out to lsattler@broadandliberty.com.

This week’s question: For at least the last century, Pennsylvania has been slowly losing population. Recently, while Southern and Western America offered examples of increased population during the Covid-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania experienced a population decline. What do you believe is causing this outward migration and how would you stop it?

We thank the following candidates for participating in our series. Click below to jump to the response from your district’s candidate!

Jessica Florio (R), Running for State Senate, District 44

Pennsylvania’s decline in population can be traced back to two things: our business climate and our property tax rate. For too long, Pennsylvania has been near the top in terms of states with the highest Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT), and still ranks near the top in terms of states with the highest property taxes.  If we want to keep people from moving out of Pennsylvania, we need to emphasize that our State is a great place to live, work, play, raise a family and retire. Too often we are seeing our seniors move to other states with lower property taxes, and our recent college graduates move to other states because of better job opportunities.

Reversing this trend starts with making Pennsylvania a more business-friendly state. I am pleased to see that the Corporate Net Income Tax has been reduced, and will continue to reduce every year until 2031, but I believe it needs to be lowered even more, even sooner. If we can make Pennsylvania an attractive option to corporations looking to relocate, we can not only keep people in Pennsylvania, we can make Pennsylvania a desirable destination to move to. I would also be supportive of programs that would incentivize college graduates who live and work in Pennsylvania for a predetermined period of time after graduation. Finally, I would also support efforts to lessen the burden of property taxes on fixed-income seniors so they no longer have to choose between being able to afford their home or living close to family and friends.

Jessica Florio’s opponent, Katie Muth, did not respond.

Ruth Moton (R), Running for State House, District 159

I think there is a three-prong problem as to why people are leaving the 159th District I am running in. The first thing is that people need to feel safe in their communities. Enacting legislation that will enable communities to partner with the police in a safe, effective manner will help people feel at ease in their own homes. Defunding the police was a disastrous policy that everyone now realizes was a mistake.

Keep the economy open. Once people feel safe, they need to go and provide for their families.  Shutdowns need to end. More importantly, they need to not come back. There was so much misinformation that was spread by our government, national, state and county, that people do not trust their leaders. I will work tirelessly to promote staying open and growing the local and state economy for our residents.

The last prong is to make Pennsylvania more business-friendly. For decades, Pennsylvania has not made doing business in this state attractive to businesses. We need legislation that will help businesses prosper in Pennsylvania, especially small businesses. Taxes, unnecessary restrictions, and redtape have made people flee our state to other states with more progressive stances toward businesses.

Remember, in November, we are VOTIN’ MOTON.

Ruth Moton’s opponent, Carol Kazeem, did not respond.

Edward Mongelluzzo (R), Running for State House, District 161

Pennsylvania’s current economic policies make our state uncompetitive in a national marketplace. Our corporate tax rate is among the highest in the nation, our regulatory system is overly burdensome and unpredictable, and our cost of living is higher than over half the country. Job creators go where it is most beneficial to settle their companies; people follow jobs and affordability and retirees go where it is less expensive to live. As your State Representative, I will work to pass bills that support small business and alleviate the tax burden on our residents. Creating a better environment for residents and businesses to thrive and prosper will not only help current Pennsylvanians but also attract new citizens to our great commonwealth.

Edward Mongelluzzo’s opponent, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, did not respond.

Nichole Missino (R), Running for State House, District 165

The city of Philadelphia sadly has become a hub for violent crime, a lot of it motivated by a huge drug culture. With a DA that is soft on crime, promoting and embracing sanctuary, and with open air illegal drug markets in places like Kensington, it is no surprise to me that Pennsylvania has lost a significant part of its population. People don’t feel safe, and they want to raise their families in a place where they can protect them.

The crime in Philadelphia has risen to its highest in history, and Mayor Kenney and City Council have agreed to remove 33 million dollars from the Philadelphia Police Department’s budget. They have agreed to cut funding for crossing guards and enforcement officers. This is not attracting people to move in and invest in a future here.

If I had a hand in changing the population decrease, I would work on behalf of the people and clean up the streets by making sure violent crime was prosecuted based on the nature of such crime, and I would not even think about depleting the resources that provide safety. 

Unfortunately, the current leadership has failed residents.

Nichole Missino’s opponent, Jennifer O’Mara, did not respond.

Kristin Marcell (R), Running for State House, District 178

While PA was once one of the nation’s leaders in supporting the innovative and working spirit of its citizens, the state government has grown too unfriendly to job creators and taxpayers which, of course, has driven them away. To reverse this trend, we must focus on economic policies that once again make PA a place that is open for business in a competitive national marketplace. Simple things like reducing our highest-in-the-nation corporate net income tax, making our regulatory system fair and predictable, ensuring our education system is preparing students with the skills employers need, and passing fair legal reforms will all help draw employers — and jobs — back to our state. That, in turn, will keep the citizens we have and draw new people to our state.

In addition, the state government must focus on making our cost of living more affordable for residents by passing real property tax reforms, controlling state spending, and promoting free-market policies that reduce healthcare costs through competition and innovation. People want to live where they can get good jobs and achieve economic independence. We turn Pennsylvania into that place again.

Ilya Breyman (D), Running for State House, District 178

Philadelphia is where the United States was born, and it was Pittsburgh steel that transformed that nation into an industrial powerhouse. Pennsylvania has demonstrated its ability to rise to challenges a little bigger than demographic shift, and I believe there are concrete actions the PA General Assembly could take to prevent this decline and put our state on a better footing for the future. 

Our state’s economic future depends on making key investments in quality education today, at all levels of government. Federal dollars are certainly helpful in accomplishing big objectives like “universal coverage” for childcare and pre-k, but states like Florida have shown that an opt-in system, like it voluntarily offers to all kids starting at age four, can be a right-sized solution that is economical, non-partisan, most importantly centers the discussion where it should be: our kids. Our government in Harrisburg needs to make clear that taxpayer investments in schools across the state are a priority, not only because of the value they generate for students who graduate from them, but also the unrealized value they have as a catalyst for the innovation and opportunity that may persuade those students to become lifelong residents. 

This should be viewed as a generational investment in the future of our Commonwealth. We should work with private institutions in Pennsylvania, like Carnegie Mellon University, already making themselves an indispensable part of our future world, doing pioneering work in robotics and autonomous vehicles, in order to learn how best to make our public institutions more adaptable and responsive to the needs of a rapidly changing global economy. We need to make our institutions of government are more adaptable and less bureaucratic if we want our state to remain competitive for future generations.

We also need to maximize the potential of everyone in our state to make sure that every person is given the opportunity they need to succeed. Right now, there are thousands of people in our state as refugees, fleeing Russian aggression in Ukraine. Because of an oversight on the part of the federal government, they have not received an automatic work authorization with their humanitarian parole visas. Once they do, after jumping through bureaucratic hoops, they will face new credentialing and licensing hurdles to be allowed to pursue jobs they are qualified for. All that, despite the ever growing number of Pennsylvania businesses who cannot find enough people to produce enough goods to meet demand. Having to flee war to keep your children out of harm’s way is unspeakable, and our state government should actively advocate on behalf of these families.

In the land of opportunity, where there are 50 states to choose from, we need to have a comprehensive plan of action for attracting workers to the places and types of work our state’s economy needs. We can’t just compete. We need to win, not just nationally, but globally. And in Pennsylvania, that starts where it always has, right here at home.

Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty

One thought on “General Assembly Candidate Spotlight: Outward Migration”

  1. 5/6 of those asked were Republicans but b+l will still try to virtue signal how “fair” their outfit is next time they hit people up for $$$

    Fetterman has outlined his plan for keeping people and money in PA, where he’s lived his whole life. The only plan the gop has for keeping up the pa population is to import people from new Jersey to represent them in the us Senate!

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