Burns obtains new economic development opportunities for Cambria County

HARRISBURG, Dec. 14 – Thanks to Rep. Frank Burns, a new law signed by the governor Wednesday evening offers Franklin Borough – and by extension, Cambria County – a key economic development program for new business opportunities.

On Wednesday, the General Assembly and the governor finalized additional pieces of the 2023-24 state budget, including the Fiscal Code, which creates a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone for Franklin Borough.

Under the law, as much as 80 acres in the borough will be classified under this economic development program, which offers state and local tax benefits in specific underdeveloped and underutilized areas of the state.

“This KOEZ will help the county create jobs and redevelop blighted properties using the same tools that larger cities use,” Burns said. “Being located in a KOZ or KOEZ can significantly reduce the cost of doing business through tax exemptions, deductions, abatements and credits. I’ve been insisting that smaller counties like Cambria – and smaller communities like Franklin – deserve the same opportunities as those much larger than they. And, now they can.”

This isn’t the first time Burns has pushed for these economic development opportunities for the county. In 2019, Burns was successful in securing the first Keystone Opportunity Zone for the county by adding it into the 2019-20 budget.

The new law sets up the process and timeline for creating Franklin Borough’s KOEZ, from the borough’s application to the Department of Community and Economic Development, to DCED’s action on the request.

“This KOEZ, like the earlier KOZ I secured, along with other efforts I have made over the years, has the opportunity to transform the county, creating thousands of jobs and redevelopment of blighted land.”

Since taking office, Burns has worked tirelessly to bring jobs to Cambria County, whether that is leading efforts to bring KOZs to the county; voting to create a $225 million loan and grant program for Pennsylvania businesses; or personally working to try to attract businesses to the region.