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Date 9/28/2015

McHale Releases Economic Growth & Opportunity Plan

Reading needs good jobs for its citizens because economic opportunity is the key to
revitalizing our city. My plan doesnt rely on gimmicks, it relies on smart ideas that attack the
root causes of our economic problems.
Reading, PA After being the first to release a plan to make Reading safer (which was only
answered by the other candidates after prompting from The Reading Eagle) Jim McHale
today released the second part of his comprehensive issues platform, which he calls his
Economic Growth and Opportunity Plan.
The people of Reading want to work. They are clamoring for the opportunity to achieve
economic freedom. But there are no jobs, McHale stated. My plan has one focus: doing
what needs to be done to bring new employers and good-paying jobs to our city.
McHale cited U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that Reading has an unemployment
rate of 7.3%. This is an alarmingly high rate of unemployment considering Pennsylvanias
rate is 5.3% and Berks Countys rate is 4.4%.
McHales plan focuses on three key areas:
1. Matching employee skills to employers demands
2. Changing an outdated tax structure
3. Opening Reading for business
Matching Employee Skills to Employers Demands
The availability of a trained workforce is one of the primary factors employers consider
when looking where to settle or expand their companies, McHale explained. We must use
the resources of our community to make sure our residents have the job skills employers
McHale said to achieve this he would establish a partnership between local government,
the private sector, and the education sector partnership that leverages the assets of local
higher education facilities (such as Reading Area Community College) and trade schools to
build job skills training programs driven by the needs of employers, and backed by the
financial support of local businesses. He would also work with the Reading School District
to encourage them to build curricula that prepare students with marketable job skills that
allow them to secure employment without need for higher education.
Changing an Outdated Tax Structure

Readings taxes are among the highest in the area in almost every category, and since Act
47 city taxes have risen while services diminish. McHale called this a vicious cycle that
drives people, employers and investment out of Reading instead of sparking economic
growth and opportunity.
Reading relies too heavily on an outdated tax structure that scares away employers as well
as upwardly mobile residents.
Transfer taxes, in particular, are an impediment to growth and redevelopment. Readings
transfer tax is 5%, whereas outside the city it is 2%. This massive differential, combined
with other issues such as high crime and struggling schools, is a disincentive to prospective
homeowners and employers who might otherwise settle in Reading. To address this
inequity, McHale would reduce the transfer tax to 2% to help regain Readings competitive
Combined with the outrageously high transfer tax, Reading also burdens its citizens and
workers with an Earned Income Tax among the highest in the area. McHale says this is
driving residents out of the city, particularly those most likely to invest in the revitalization
of neighborhoods across the city.
McHale would also repeal the nonsensical Per Capita Tax as a symbol of the citys
commitment to changing how it treats residents and employers. This small act would
send a strong signal to employers and the next generation that Reading is changing for the
To help end this cycle, McHale would restructure city government to help reduce costs, and
use his professional business experience to implement new financial controls and
management tools. Taken together with other reforms, McHale says these changes would
allow the city to begin to reduce the tax burden on property owners and employers, and
that such changes would appeal to younger professionals and families seeking affordable
housing, as well as to employers looking for a place to settle.
Our tax structure is outdated, the citys tax base is shrinking, and our government is to
blame. If we continue to elect the same leaders stamped out by the political machine, we
will continue to see the same results: higher taxes, lost jobs, and lower services, McHale
explained. I want to end this cycle of driving away the very people and companies we
need to make Reading strong again.
Opening Reading for Business
The third portion of McHales plan revolves around making Reading among the most job
friendly community in Pennsylvania.
McHale said that improving the job skills of the workforce and fixing a broken tax system
isnt enough. We must also make it clear that Reading will work with employers to make it
easier for them to settle, operate and expand here than anywhere else in the state, he said.

To do this, McHale said he will reduce barriers to starting and settling a business in
From cutting red tape to reducing fees to making sure every current and potential
employer is assigned an ambassador to walk them through the maze of city government,
we need to make it clear to employers that we want them and their jobs, McHale stated.
--------------McHale said the greatest benefit of his economic growth plan is what it could do to the
wages of local families. The median family income in Reading is $29,763 compared to the
national median income of $64,585, and an average family living outside of Reading makes
$34,822 more than a family living in the city.
Ive met too many hard working parents who are working full-time jobs but still cant
provide for their families, McHale said. By attracting higher paying jobs to our city, and
then helping residents improve upon the skills they already have, we can change the entire
economic future for Reading and its people.
My ideas are not gimmicks. They are concrete solutions that have worked in other parts of
the nation. We must put these best-practices into play here in Reading if we want to make
sure that our city and residents thrive economically today and in the future, McHale