For Immediate Release
February 6, 2018
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regard to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2018-19 budget address:
“Over the past six months, state revenue collections have been on a general upward swing – a positive sign for the Commonwealth’s economy and fiscal outlook. Yet, for the fourth year in a row, the Wolf administration has proposed changes to the Commonwealth’s corporate tax structure that would negatively impact employers. While we agree that the state’s corporate net income tax rate – which has the highest effect rate in the nation – needs to be lowered, we disagree that making a CNI rate reduction contingent on the implementation of mandatory unitary combined reporting is good for business. This complex, overly broad tax reporting system will only lead to increased administrative and litigation costs and will put Pennsylvania at a greater competitive disadvantage. We are also discouraged by the administration’s continued push to target the natural gas industry with an additional punitive tax. This tax – which would be paid in addition to the impact tax and the other business taxes that the industry already pays – would risk the loss of further investment and economic opportunity in an area that could otherwise yield tremendous economic results for our state. However, we are relieved that no other broad-based tax increases on employers or working families has been put forth in this year’s budget proposal.
“Additionally, we are concerned with the governor’s proposal to mandate an increase in entry level wages to $12 an hour – a move that would significantly impact the Commonwealth’s small businesses and could lead to substantial job loss. Rather than mandating wage increases, our state officials should follow the recent actions of the federal government and focus on policies that will spur economic growth without mandates. In the weeks since the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, businesses across the nation have announced plans to increase wages and benefits for their employees. These companies understand that the federal tax reform package will vastly improve our nation’s overall competitiveness in the global marketplace – giving employers the opportunity to reinvest back into their organizations and employees. This is how the market works when businesses are allowed to thrive – which helps to grow our economy and create more jobs.
“We are encouraged by the administration’s focus on workforce development – a key cornerstone of the PA Chamber’s mission – which will help to close the existing jobs skills gap and foster workers’ upward mobility in their careers. We look forward to continuing our work with Gov. Wolf, the General Assembly and our counterparts in the education and labor communities on this important initiative. Additionally, we support the administration’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis that is currently plaguing the state and urge the governor’s support of S.B. 936 – a commonsense proposal that would help address opioid addiction among injured workers – as part of the state’s overall strategy.”
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.