State Budget

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.

PA Chamber Fights Off More than $1 Billion in Potential Tax Increases as 2017-18 Budget Impasse Comes to An End

On October 30, a months long budget impasse came to an end when Gov. Tom Wolf signed into several revenue bills to pay for the $32 billion spending that was approved in July for the 2017-18 Fiscal Year. 

Notably absent from the final deal were a number of proposed taxes that the PA Chamber had spoken out against throughout the budget negotiation process: a severance tax on natural gas drillers; new taxes on commercial and residential natural gas users; increased taxes on electric and phone bills; a new hotel tax; a commercial warehouse storage tax; an insurance premiums tax and a technology tax. 

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PA Chamber Urges Legislators to Reject Government Union-Driven Push to Raise Energy Taxes on Pennsylvania Households

PA Chamber Urges Legislators to Reject Government Union-Driven Push to Raise Energy Taxes on Pennsylvania Households

Feb 12, 2018 | Tricia Harris

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement today regarding the Wolf administration’s proposal to enact an additional tax on the natural gas industry: 

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PA Chamber: Governor’s Proposed Tax Changes Could Set Back Strengthened Economy, Employer Confidence

PA Chamber: Governor’s Proposed Tax Changes Could Set Back Strengthened Economy, Employer Confidence

Feb 6, 2018 | Tricia Harris

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:

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Wolf to call for $185 million increase in school spending

Wolf to call for $185 million increase in school spending

Feb 5, 2018 | Meadville Tribune

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Governor's budget promises more public school funding

Governor's budget promises more public school funding

Feb 3, 2018 | The Sharon Herald

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Chamber applauds hold-off on PA taxes

Chamber applauds hold-off on PA taxes

Nov 22, 2017 | Cumberland Valley Business Journal

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Pa. budget deadlock a short-term win for business?

Pa. budget deadlock a short-term win for business?

Oct 5, 2017 | Central Penn Business Journal

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PA Chamber’s 27th Economic Survey Shows That as Employer Optimism Rebounds, Concerns over Healthcare Remain

PA Chamber’s 27th Economic Survey Shows That as Employer Optimism Rebounds, Concerns over Healthcare Remain

Oct 3, 2017

As the nation’s economic climate steadily improves, employers are increasingly optimistic about the state of business in the Commonwealth, as well as projections for future growth in sales and hiring. However, their ability to offer healthcare to their workforce due to persistent uncertainty and rising costs in the market continue to be a chief concern. These indicators are among the responses from the PA Chamber’s 27th Annual Economic Survey, which was conducted in August 2017 by Susquehanna Polling and Research.

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Pennsylvania business groups urge lawmakers to pursue pro-growth agenda

Pennsylvania business groups urge lawmakers to pursue pro-growth agenda

Aug 31, 2017 | Pennsylvania Watchdog

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Pennsylvania tax plan would cost state thousands of jobs, study finds

Pennsylvania tax plan would cost state thousands of jobs, study finds

Aug 16, 2017 | Pennsylvania Watchdog

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Business reps say tax hikes to balance Pa. budget will hurt

Business reps say tax hikes to balance Pa. budget will hurt

Aug 14, 2017 | Phoenix Reporter & Item

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Business reps say tax hikes to balance Pennsylvania budget will hurt

Business reps say tax hikes to balance Pennsylvania budget will hurt

Aug 13, 2017 | Norristown Times Herald

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How to pay for state budget

How to pay for state budget

Aug 11, 2017 | Smart Talk

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State energy tax bill hit with business counterpunches

State energy tax bill hit with business counterpunches

Aug 10, 2017 | Philadelphia Tribune

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Pennsylvania lawmakers want you to help pay for $2 billion budget gap

Pennsylvania lawmakers want you to help pay for $2 billion budget gap

Aug 9, 2017 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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As Pa. looks to fill budget gap, your utility bills could rise

As Pa. looks to fill budget gap, your utility bills could rise

Aug 9, 2017 | Philadelphia Inquirer

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Business groups punch back against energy tax bill

Business groups punch back against energy tax bill

Aug 9, 2017 | Times News

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PA Business Roars Disapproval of Senate's Plan to Tax Energy 4X

PA Business Roars Disapproval of Senate's Plan to Tax Energy 4X

Aug 9, 2017 | Marcellus Drilling News

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Business groups bristle at proposed energy tax

Business groups bristle at proposed energy tax

Aug 9, 2017 | Indiana Gazette

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Business reps say tax hikes to balance Pa. budget will hurt

Business reps say tax hikes to balance Pa. budget will hurt

Aug 8, 2017 | Delaware County Daily Times

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Battle over shale tax heats up in Pa.

Battle over shale tax heats up in Pa.

Aug 8, 2017 | NewsWorks

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Business groups slam energy tax proposal

Business groups slam energy tax proposal

Aug 8, 2017 | State Impact

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Business, energy groups push back against Pa. severance tax proposal

Business, energy groups push back against Pa. severance tax proposal

Aug 8, 2017 | Pittsburgh Business Times

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Multi-Industry Coalition: Tax Code Bill Would Significantly Increase Energy Taxes, Hurt Pennsylvania’s Competitiveness

Multi-Industry Coalition: Tax Code Bill Would Significantly Increase Energy Taxes, Hurt Pennsylvania’s Competitiveness

Aug 8, 2017 | Tricia Harris

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.

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Barr: Revenue deal can't put it all on natural gas tax

Barr: Revenue deal can't put it all on natural gas tax

Jul 28, 2017 | Cumberland Valley Business Journal

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PA Chamber: Wolf/Senate Revenue Package Bad for Pennsylvania’s Economic Climate

PA Chamber: Wolf/Senate Revenue Package Bad for Pennsylvania’s Economic Climate

Jul 27, 2017

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.

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A severance tax is bad for business - for everyone

A severance tax is bad for business - for everyone

Jul 10, 2017 | PennLive

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Innovation, Economic Trends and Crisis Management Focus of 5th Annual Economic Forecast Summit

Innovation, Economic Trends and Crisis Management Focus of 5th Annual Economic Forecast Summit

Mar 2, 2017 | Tricia Harris

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.

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PA Chamber: While Efficiencies in Budget Plan Can Be Applauded, Proposed Business Tax Hikes Raise Concerns

PA Chamber: While Efficiencies in Budget Plan Can Be Applauded, Proposed Business Tax Hikes Raise Concerns

Feb 8, 2017 | Tricia Harris

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:

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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:

  • Expanding opportunities for improving delivery and administration of municipal services: eliminate legal barriers and provide assistance to local governments to deliver services in ways that make practical and financial sense for their respective regions; allow and encourage municipalities to enter public-private partnerships; provide tools for local governments to allow for streamlined permitting so that Pennsylvania businesses and those seeking to locate in Pennsylvania can better compete with other states.
  • Encouraging municipal cooperation and consolidation: Streamline the procedures and provide incentives for consolidating local governments; encourage municipalities to collaborate on delivery of services and consideration and implementation of policies and decisions related to land use, permitting, zoning or any process through which businesses must go to locate or expand a facility.
  • Public Pension Reform: The PA Chamber recognizes the financial burden imposed by unsustainable, outmoded retirement plans and supports efforts to mitigate rising costs in the near term and address unfunded liabilities with as limited an impact as possible on taxpayers. This includes allowing local governments to transition employee retirement plans to a defined contribution retirement plan. These plans have become standard in the private sector as the workforce has evolved, including employee demographics and the tendency for individuals to frequently change jobs, and even careers, during their working life. Both the state and local governments should transition from their traditional defined-benefit retirement plans - which can be unpredictable, unaffordable and outdated - to defined-contribution retirement plans. Moreover, as most of the state’s thousands of local retirement plans serve a small number of employees, consolidation of the various disparate plans could serve to modernize the existing system and create economies of scale that save both taxpayers and plan participants significant money.
  • Reforming binding arbitration: Current state law provides for binding arbitration in the event of a contract dispute between police and fire fighters and their municipal employers and in exchange these uniformed public employees are prohibited from going on strike. The PA Chamber believes binding arbitration can be useful and should remain an option available to resolve disputes. However, it is clear the current system does not sufficiently protect the interests of the municipality as adverse decisions rendered through binding arbitration have become more frequent and a significant cause of escalating costs. The PA Chamber supports reforms to make binding arbitration laws fairer for municipalities, and thereby less costly to taxpayers, while ensuring that police and fire fighters’ rights are protected.