Bill O’Boyle: Can we believe in Shapiro's plan?

Jan. 29—We all remember Tug McGraw, the flamboyant left-handed relief pitcher, who coined the phrase "Ya Gotta Believe" — which became the rallying cry for the 1973 New York Mets.

What a simple, yet inspiring three-word phrase that was.

Now, some 50 years later, Pennsylvania has a new governor who wants us to believe that he will transform and improve the state's economy to a level where the always hard-working, high work ethic possessing people of the Keystone State will be able to find meaningful employment where they will earn "family-sustaining" wages.

Can we believe this? Should we believe this?

Well, we're kinda at the point where, yeah, we gotta believe it.

Being optimistic and having faith in our elected officials has not always paid us great dividends, but this time, given Gov. Josh Shapiro's repeated statements/promises, maybe we should give this guy a chance.

This week, Shapiro signed an executive order establishing the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity within the Governor's Office and the Economic Development Strategy Group.

We are told that this newly created office will be a one-stop-shop for businesses looking to grow and will work to aggressively reignite Pennsylvania's economy — fostering innovation, supporting transformational economic development and creating real opportunity for businesses and workers alike in our commonwealth, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind.

According to a news release from the Governor's Office, Shapiro's executive order to create this office underscores how building an economy that works for all is a key priority for his administration.

On day one, Shapiro demonstrated his commitment to creating economic growth and success here in Pennsylvania by taking action to open the doors of opportunity to workers without college degrees.

Now, with this new executive order, Shapiro is sending a clear message that Pennsylvania is open for business and that the commonwealth will work more quickly and find a way to get to yes in order to spur real economic development.

I can hear some you out there saying, "blah, blah, blah."

But wait and listen a bit more.

We are hearing that the plan is to do away with forcing business to go to multiple agencies for permits, approvals and funding — the plan is for the this new office to serve as a one-stop-shop to cut through red tape, bring state agencies together, support Pennsylvania businesses who want to grow and encourage other businesses to move here.

OK, that does sound promising.

—The Office of Transformation and Opportunity will help develop and lead an overall growth strategy and implement economic development projects — coordinating with commonwealth agencies, expediting permit reviews and ensuring the speed of business review and approval of key incentive programs.

—The Economic Development Strategy Group will directly advise the governor on economic development projects and processes to attract and retain employers, recruit innovation leaders and create good-paying jobs in Pennsylvania, particularly in under-served communities.

Here's what Shapiro said:

"I've heard from business and labor leaders across the commonwealth — government needs to work more quickly and figure out a way to get to yes. Today, we are making clear that Pennsylvania is open for business, and that we are going to be leaders in economic growth, job creation and innovation. My administration will connect our business, our workforce, our world-class universities and research institutions, and the public sector to spur economic development, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind. By helping businesses that are already here, encouraging new ones to move to Pennsylvania and investing in our workforce, we can create real opportunity and build an economy that works for everyone."

Again, it sounds good.

We want this plan to work. Pennsylvania and its citizens need it to work.

We gotta believe Shapiro and his administration are sincerely committed to growing Pennsylvania's economy so that it works for everyone.

We gotta believe that Shapiro will see to it to bring those good jobs with family-sustaining wages to Pennsylvania and in so doing, jump-start Pennsylvania's economy.

We've heard similar promises from just about every candidate that has passed through. It's time promises were kept and results attained.

We gotta believe?

But the reality is that seeing is believing.

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at