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Wolf Derides GOP, Touts Entrerpreneurial Roots At Pittsburgh Tour

Gov. Tom Wolf reiterated his desire for business-friendly legislation at a walkthrough of AlphaLab Gear in East Liberty on Thursday as part of his "Jobs that Pay" tour.

The former York County business executive continued to blame Congressional Republicans for the state budget impasse, now in its sixth month. Wolf said legislators have to encourage entrepreneurs with predictable taxes and policy.

“But we also need to make sure we’re working at the margins to help ... nudge the market in the directions that will actually create good jobs,” he said.

AlphaLab is a startup incubator that helps entrepreneurs in the early stages of product development.

Credit Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News
90.5 WESA News
Dick Zhang, right, CEO of Identified Technologies, tells Gov. Tom Wolf about the drones his company uses to map large industrial sites for owners.

Wolf spoke with one group using drones to map massive industrial sites and another that develops power-generating shoe insoles that can charge your cell phone. The incubator has also helped launch companies that personalize wedding products, pedicabs and robotic trash cans that sort recyclables.

Wolf said when it comes to passing the budget, the choice is to either follow "right-wing extremists" presenting increasingly untenable proposals or take a feather from the caps of like-minded innovators willing to spend a buck.

“Spend a little money," he said. "Invest money in things like education, in roads and bridges, the things that a strong, healthy free market needs and we could realize the huge potential this great commonwealth has.”

He applauded the almost $2 billion in private capital alumni of AlphaLab have raised since 1999, much of which the company said is invested in Pennsylvania.

Wolf said his administration is trying to create an environment conducive for business development in general but is working with the Department of Community and Economic Development to provide seed money for people to test their ideas.