Governor Shapiro’s order establishes agency license and approves response times, money-back guarantee

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A new executive order signed into law by Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro gives companies a money-back guarantee that government agencies will respond to their licensing and permitting requests within a set timeframe.

The executive order aims to improve the state’s licensing, permitting and certification processes and sets a deadline for agencies to process applications and return to businesses. If applicants do not receive a response by the specified date, the competent authority will refund their application fee, the implementing regulation says. The order will also provide a comprehensive look at how long agencies take to process these applications and how online applications work.

“The first priority of state government should be to serve the people of our commonwealth, but for far too long Pennsylvanians have endured long waits, outdated systems and bureaucratic delays. They deserve a government that works efficiently and effectively to give them answers,” Shapiro said. “Under my administration, the people of Pennsylvania will have reassurance — they will know how long it will take for the authorities to respond, and if an agency fails to deliver on that promise, they will earn their money back.” Pennsylvanians work hard to keep our economy afloat, and the Commonwealth should work just as hard to process their applications.”

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliates welcomed the move.
“Identifying and optimizing these processes are necessary steps to accelerate economic development and unlock opportunity for businesses of all sizes and at all stages, from inception to established operations across the Commonwealth,” said Matt Smith, Chief Growth Officer the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. “This arrangement will set improved standards for Commonwealth-issued permits, licenses and certifications – which in turn will result in greater security for those wishing to do business here. By providing transparency into processes, setting benchmarks to achieve results, communicating processing times, and providing refunds for unreasonable processing delays, the order will help accelerate progress for businesses across Pennsylvania.”

Smith said the Allegheny conference considered the move a “critical next step” in making the Pittsburgh region and state economically competitive.