The PA Chamber advocates for responsible state budgets that make wise investments and set the Commonwealth on a path toward fiscal prosperity. This largely means battling back against excessive mandates and tax increases on the employer community, enabling them to invest, hire and grow.
For the third year in a row, Gov. Tom Wolf allowed the state budget to become law without his signature. The 2017-18 state spending plan, which spends $32 billion, went into effect on July 10. While lawmakers and the governor were able to reach consensus on the spend number, there remains disagreement on how to pay for the approximately $700 million spending increase, as well as how they will address the $1.5 billion budget deficit. While the House has favored borrowing, gaming expansion and additional liquor reforms as the best method to close the budget gap; in late July the Senate passed a Tax Code bill that would impose an additional $600 million in taxes on Pennsylvania businesses and residents. The PA Chamber remains staunchly opposed to this legislation, which would include: a new tax on residential and commercial use of natural gas; an increase to residential and commercial electric bills; a higher tax on phone bills; as well as a severance tax on the natural gas industry.
As budget negotiations continue, the PA Chamber is taking the lead on a broad-based coalition effort to defeat onerous tax hikes in this year’s spending plan. We are instead advocating for policies that right-size state government, rein in growing cost-drivers and encourage business investment that will lead to a stronger economic future in Pennsylvania.
Raising concerns regarding the impact a proposed revenue package would have on the Commonwealth’s overall economy and competitive edge, a coalition of business leaders representing a wide variety of industry sectors across the Commonwealth today held a media call to urge the state House to oppose H.B. 542 – the Tax Code bill. The legislation – which narrowly passed the Senate in recent weeks – would increase taxes on Pennsylvania job creators and residents by $600 million annually. The proposal includes a number of tax increases that will significantly raise energy costs for both residential and commercial users – including a new gross receipts tax on natural gas users, an increase to the gross receipts tax on electric users and a severance tax on natural gas.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regard to the Senate’s passage of a revenue package for the 2017-18 Fiscal Year. House Bill 542 – which includes a number of tax increases on Pennsylvania residents and business owners – will have far-reaching, negative impacts on the state’s economic climate and competitive edge.
With the Commonwealth’s economy predicted to remain in a slow-growth pattern going into the next fiscal year, leaders from Pennsylvania’s business and banking communities gathered today at the 5th Annual Economic Forecast Summit to gain insight about upcoming economic trends at the state and national level. This annual event – which is presented by the PA Chamber Education Foundation and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association – brings together some of the nation’s most respected economic forecasters and leadership experts.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regard to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2017-18 budget address:
The Sixth Annual Economic Forecast Summit—every company needs to not only understand today’s financial picture, but have some type of barometer with which to help forecast what may happen on both the national and international economic fronts. Knowing the trends and probable outcomes helps companies plan for hiring, save for reserves, anticipate new products and services, develop marketing strategies and communicate with customers.
Within Pennsylvania’s borders are a diverse and vibrant collection of communities where employers set up shop, residents raise families and tourists come to visit. The success of our Commonwealth is directly tied to the strength of its communities and public policy should help communities thrive.
Pennsylvania’s labyrinthine system of local governments is not conducive to strengthening economic competitiveness. The Commonwealth is comprised of 67 counties, 56 cities, 958 boroughs, 1 town (Bloomsburg), 1,547 townships, 500 school districts and 1,961 authorities. Keeping government “close to the people” is certainly an important principle, but too many small governments with diminished capacities, inadequate resources, and limited economic wherewithal do not help advance economic development and job growth within communities. The PA Chamber believes that cooperation among counties and municipalities is part of what is needed to foster more functional and effective local government.
Moreover, the financial wellbeing of many Pennsylvania municipal governments is often harmed by antiquated and unbalanced state laws and regulations, which may necessitate higher costs and inefficient spending. Ultimately, these costs are borne by Pennsylvania residents and businesses, many of whom now live and operate in financially distressed communities. The PA Chamber supports efforts and legislation to help ease the financial burden municipalities face.
Municipal sustainability can be effectuated by: