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PENNSYLVANIA STANDS TALL AMONG THE STATES WHERE IT COUNTS

 PENNSYLVANIA STANDS TALL AMONG THE STATES WHERE IT COUNTS
 /ADVANCE/ HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Robert P. Casey said today that even in the midst of a national recession, Pennsylvanians can take comfort in knowing that their state -- when compared with other states -- maintains a strong competitive position in a number of important areas.
 "Whether you're talking about regional economics, investment in human services, Wall Street credit ratings for states, or the size of the bureaucracy, the word we get from independent evaluators is that Pennsylvania stands as a leader among the 50 states," the governor said in his weekly radio address.
 Casey noted that the Corporation for Enterprise Development in Washington has issued its annual development report card and given Pennsylvania high marks.
 "We got an A in development capacity and solid B's in economic performance, business vitality and state policy," Casey said. "That placed us on a par with California and comfortably ahead of other major states such as Texas and Illinois."
 Casey also noted that Pennsylvania has been cited by two national research organizations, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center for the Study of States, for refusing to cut back on human services despite dwindling revenues brought on by the poor national economy.
 "In short, they applauded Pennsylvania for refusing to balance its budget on the backs of its most vulnerable citizens," the governor said. "That's something we all can be proud of, particularly in these difficult times when those at the bottom rung of the economic ladder feel this pain and hardship the most."
 In November, pediatrician T. Berry Brazleton, a widely recognized expert on children, praised Pennsylvania as a national leader for its commitment to children and family programs.
 This month, Money magazine ranked Pennsylvania 19th lowest among the states in its tax burden on individuals. Among neighboring states, only Delaware and West Virginia were lower.
 "And we were far and away better off than most comparable major states, such as New York, which is the highest in the country, or Ohio, which ranked 37th," Casey said. "California came in 32nd, and New Jersey, 31st; Illinois, 21st; and Michigan, 33rd, by way of comparison."
 State Policy Research Inc., headquartered in Alexandria, Va., rated Pennsylvania 13th among the 50 states in its continuing increased support for basic education and 14th in its increased funding for higher education.
 Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Pennsylvania had the fewest number of state employees per capita than any other state in the nation.
 "When I first was inaugurated governor in 1987, there were over 79,759 full-time state employees in agencies under my jurisdiction," Casey said. "At the end of the past year, some five years later, there were 76,000 because of our cost-cutting actions that I put into place as part of our response to the recession."
 Casey called Pennsylvania's public workforce "dedicated, efficient and productive" in administering more programs and providing more services with fewer employees than at any time in the state's history.
 The governor also noted that Pennsylvania has maintained high credit ratings from Wall Street and the financial community, making state bonds particularly attractive and saving state taxpayers millions of dollars in interest costs.
 "Pennsylvania is not out of the woods yet, given the uncertainty of this economy," Casey acknowledged. "We have got to be careful and cautious and prudent in the decisions we make.
 "But competitively speaking, we face the future with a sound foundation. And in the current economic climate, that's encouraging news for the future."
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 /CONTACT: Vincent P. Carocci of the Commonwealth News Bureau, 717-783-1116/ CO: Office of the Governor ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KA -- PH017 -- 8682 01/10/92 14:26 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 10, 1992
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