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PIDA NOW WORKS TO HELP COMPANIES CREATE AND RETAIN JOBS

 PIDA NOW WORKS TO HELP COMPANIES CREATE AND RETAIN JOBS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Industrial


Development Authority (PIDA) today agreed to set aside $20 million in low-interest financing to fund job retention projects and provide increased support for in-state businesses.
 The board action for the first time redirects a portion of PIDA resources to retain existing manufacturing jobs. In the past, PIDA has been limited to funding job creation projects.
 In other action, the board approved loans totaling $5.4 million for six projects that are expected to create 583 jobs and preserve 884 jobs in Bucks, Dauphin, Fayette, Lehigh, Luzerne and Northumberland counties.
 Gov. Robert P. Casey hailed the board's action and praised its members for responding to his call that PIDA do more to take care of Pennsylvania businesses.
 "PIDA has taken a responsible step in helping Pennsylvania take care of its own businesses and industries," the governor said.
 Acting Secretary of Commerce Andrew Greenberg, PIDA chairman, said, "This is good news for Pennsylvania's home-grown businesses.
 "We now will be able to do more to support Pennsylvania businesses that have invested their resources in our state year after year," Greenberg said.
 "It was clear that we needed to do more for our existing businesses in the face of nationwide economic conditions. These changes will help Pennsylvania's businesses fight back in the face of the ongoing recession and make certain they are prepared to meet the competitive challenges of the 21st century."
 In his State of the Commonwealth address last month, Casey proposed that PIDA provide low-interest state financing to help Pennsylvania businesses retain existing manufacturing jobs as well as create new ones.
 The changes in the PIDA program are the lead recommendation in a report prepared for the Department of Commerce by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, which has completed a year-long study of the department's key business assistance programs.
 The changes in the PIDA program approved today are:
 -- For the first time setting aside part of PIDA resources -- $20 million -- to support existing businesses that are retaining their employment even when no new jobs are created.
 -- Awarding funds from the set-aside for retention projects on a competitive basis.
 -- Providing $15,000 per job retained to a maximum loan amount of $2 million.
 To compete for the retention funds, a manufacturing business would need to pay 90 percent of a county's average manufacturing wage.
 PIDA's policy has been to fund business location or expansions only where new jobs are being created as part of the project, at the rate of $15,000 per job.
 Greenberg said the department expects to receive its first applications for retention projects next month so the PIDA board can act in April. Other recommendations contained in the study are expected to be adopted and implemented with the new fiscal year, he said.
 Pennsylvania has been a leader in business financing programs since the PIDA program began in 1957, Greenberg said.
 "The changes approved today make one of our key financing programs more responsive to challenges of new economic times," he said.
 In addition, Greenberg announced the approval of $5.4 million in PIDA loans for six projects that are expected to create 583 jobs and preserve 884 other jobs.
 "Five of today's PIDA loans are for expansion projects and the sixth is for a new project on the site of a closed plant," he added.
 PIDA loans, awarded at low interest rates, may be used by manufacturers and industrial firms to purchase land and buildings for construction or renovation. Applications are made by local industrial development groups on behalf of industrial borrowers.
 The projects approved were:
 Bucks County -- $720,000 to Enterprise Paper Co. on 2900 Wharton Road in Bristol, Pa., for the acquisition and renovation of a 61,923 square-foot building. The company, a distributor of packaging materials and sanitary maintenance supplies, plans to relocate its current operation, which includes 25 employees, from a nearby site to a larger facility. In addition, the $1.8 million project is expected to create 50 jobs.
 Dauphin County -- $264,000 to Needleworks Inc. on Rt. 209 in Millersburg, Pa., for the acquisition and renovation of a 54,000 square- foot building. The company, which produces embroidery for sports clothing and bath towels, is also moving its operation, including 122 current employees, from a nearby location to larger quarters. The $660,000 project is expected to create 20 additional jobs.
 Fayette County --$2 million to Interstate Thermal Energy Conversion Corp. for the acquisition of a 201,005 square-foot building at the former Labelle Processing Plant in Labelle, Pa. The company cleans and processes coal. The $5.2 million project is expected to create 282 jobs.
 Lehigh County -- $2 million to Burron Medical Inc. at the Lehigh Industrial Park III on 901 Marcon Industrial Blvd. in Allentown, Pa., for a 97,000 square-foot expansion project. The company, which currently employs 659 workers at the site, designs, manufactures and develops disposable medical devices for the hospital industry. The $5 million project is expected to create an additional 197 jobs.
 Luzerne County -- $225,000 to RVB Inc. at 682 Shoemaker Avenue in West Wyoming, Pa., for the acquisition and renovation a 28,802 square- foot building. The company is in the process of purchasing Ridgley Vibrated Block and plans to continue manufacturing cinder and concrete blocks for the construction industry. The $456,250 project is expected to create 15 jobs.
 Northumberland County -- $250,000 to National Ticket Co. at the Reed Industrial Park in Shamokin, Pa., for the construction of a 48,300 square-foot building. The company, which prints a variety of admission tickets for the sporting and entertainment industries, is relocating from a nearby site, where it currently employs 78 people. The $2.2 million project is expected to create 19 jobs.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/10/92
 /CONTACT: Ron Jury of the Department of Commerce, 717-783-1132, or Charles M. Tocci of the Commonwealth News Bureau, 717-783-1116/ CO: Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority; Department of
 Commerce ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


JS -- PH031 -- 8490 02/10/92 17:09 EST
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