Economy & Business

90.5 WESA explores the regional economy, as well as covering the issues that ordinary Pittsburghers face in their working lives.

U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) and 31 other members of the Congressional Steel Caucus have urged Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to buy only steel melted in the U.S. to make armor steel plate used in military vehicles, fighter jets, and other sophisticated equipment.

Murphy said in 2009 that the Department of Defense expanded the definition of "U.S.-produced steel," which is required by law, to include steel finished here but melted elsewhere. That has shut out American steelmakers.

A state agency will tell Pittsburgh leaders today whether the city's underfunded pension plan had the cash needed to avoid a state takeover on January 1, 2011.

On Friday, the Public Employee Retirement Commission received the last documents necessary from the city, concerning Pittsburgh's fund custodian, PNC Investment Group.

A coalition of liberal and conservative organizations is calling on the special Congressional debt reduction panel to cut environmentally harmful programs.

President Ryan Alexander of D.C.-based Taxpayers for Common Sense said the combination of saving money and helping the environment is something both parties could agree on.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Pittsburgh today to rally support for the job creation bill recently proposed by President Obama.

Secretary Vilsack said the plan would put people back to work immediately if it's adopted by Congress. The American Jobs Act would cut the payroll tax in half, a measure Vilsack said would encourage small businesses to hire more employees.

Local Woman Heeds President’s Jobs Bill Orders

Sep 12, 2011

President Barack Obama took to the Rose Garden this morning to warn congress that he will send his "American Jobs Act" to the Capitol later today while at the same time calling on those in attendance to fight for its passage.

"I can't tell you how many times the president said, 'Pass the bill, pass the bill, pass the bill,'" said Just Harvest co-director Tara Marks. Marks was invited to the White House last week, but was not told what the focus of the event would be until later. "Of course you get that invitation you say, 'Great, I want to be there,'" said Marks.

Solar Energy Hits Milestone in PA

Sep 12, 2011

There are now more than 100 Megawatts of installed solar power capacity in Pennsylvania according to a recent report from regional transmission organization PJM Interconnect. That is up from three megawatts four years ago.

"The solar energy industry in Pennsylvania creates a lot of jobs," said PennFuture Energy Center Director, Christina Simeone, "We have estimated that Pennsylvania has the second largest amount of solar energy jobs in the nation, second only to California."

Window Closing on Federal Foreclosure Aid

Sep 12, 2011

Homeowners facing foreclosure have just a few days left to submit applications for federal assistance.

Of $105 million available to Pennsylvanians through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, only $50 million has been committed so far, with about $4 million of that in southwestern Pennsylvania. The remainder of the money is still available through HUD's "Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program" — that is, until Friday.

Pennsylvanians Want to Keep Drilling, But Tax It

Sep 2, 2011

A broad majority of Pennsylvanians support natural gas drilling, according to a new poll. At the same time, 65% of respondents want lawmakers to pass a severance tax, and send the revenue to the state government. 72% want to split the tax dollars between the state and local municipalities.

"So the takeaway here is, Pennsylvanians say, yep, let's tax. Let's divide the tax between local communities and the state," said pollster Terry Madonna. "Yes, the industry is doing the right thing. They're doing a good job, but oh, by the way, you better be careful about the environment."

Toomey Joins Federal Debt Panel

Aug 10, 2011

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) will be part of the twelve-member panel charged with writing a plan to reduce federal debt by more than $1 trillion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell named Toomey, a former investment banker, to the congressional super-panel today. Toomey, a freshman Republican, said he is "very honored" to serve on the committee when it meets this fall.

"We need to get our spending under control," said Toomey, "and we need to do it in a way that will maximize economic growth."