For Immediate Release
July 14, 2016
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regard to the final state budget agreement for the 2016-17 fiscal year:
“While we appreciate that lawmakers worked in a bipartisan fashion to reach agreement on the 2016-17 revenue package without imposing significant new tax burdens, it is concerning that they agreed to more state spending before addressing the Commonwealth’s No. 1 cost-driver – the public pension crisis. We are also apprehensive that their decision to cap the vendor’s allowance – which helps retailers recoup the costs associated with collecting the sales tax on behalf of the state – will increase the amount of burdens on employers and make it more costly to operate in Pennsylvania."
“Prior to enacting any new taxes, lawmakers should have worked to address the state’s pension crisis. Each year, a larger portion of both the state’s and school districts’ budgets go toward growing pension obligations, which diverts money away from the classroom and other important state programs. The longer this problem goes unaddressed, the greater the threat of tax increases to pay for these costs. While we applaud the expansion of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program, additional education reforms need to be part of the conversation – including changes to the ineffective “last in, first out” teacher seniority rules and measures that aim to offer every child a high quality education. We urge lawmakers to tackle these critical issues when they return to session in the fall and finalize a long-term, comprehensive pension reform plan that shifts a substantial amount of the risk of increasing pension obligations away from Pennsylvania taxpayers.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.