The speaker called for creating a state loan guarantee program to help steel companies fund plant improvements.
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
FARRELL, Pa. -- State Sen. Allen Kukovich of Greensburg, D-39th, thinks Pennsylvania should be spending its rainy-day fund on boosting the economy.
Kukovich, a candidate for lieutenant governor, was in the Shenango Valley Tuesday to attend a "Support for Steel" rally in Wheatland and to support the candidacy of businessman Kyle Klaric who is seeking the Democrat nomination for the 50th state Senate seat.
Now is the time to use existing trade tariffs to protect the domestic steel industry, Kukovich said.
The United States is already far too reliant on foreign oil. It would be a major national defense error to become dependent on foreign steel as well, he said in an exclusive interview with The Vindicator.
Rainy-day fund: Pennsylvania has built up a $1.3 billion rainy day fund over the past decade, and Gov. Mark Schweiker has proposed using half of it to shore up the next state budget, he said.
Kukovich said he thinks that money would be better spent making some basic infrastructure improvements such as roads and sewer and water lines to attract more industry or help existing industry to expand.
Those are long-term investments that can produce solid results in the form of good jobs and economic improvement, Kukovich said.
Pennsylvania needs to build a public-private partnership with the steel industry and high tech manufacturing to ensure the survival of those industries, Kukovich said.
The state should also create a state loan guarantee program to help the steel industry secure private bank financing to upgrade their facilities to keep them competitive, he said.