Pennsylvania’s corporate taxes and tax rate continue to put the Commonwealth at a competitive disadvantage. Comprehensive reforms of and reductions in business taxes are necessary to stimulate economic development. Specifically, the PA Chamber supports eliminating the cap on Net Operating Losses, reducing the Corporate Net Income tax rate and bringing uniformity and clarity to Pennsylvania’s tax structure.
Pennsylvania is full of economic potential. Our prime location, ample natural resources, world-class educational institutions, diverse industry base and strong work ethic provide a host of opportunities for the Commonwealth’s private sector. And yet, we are often overlooked for new investment opportunities. In July 2019, the financial ratings website WalletHub rated Pennsylvania a very dismal 45th in the nation when analyzing the best states in which to start a business. Our state also ranked third from the bottom in terms of its overall business environment. And, last year, Amazon’s decision to pass over Pennsylvania as the site for its HQ2 headquarters – an announcement that the PA Chamber met with great disappointment – was another missed opportunity that necessitated a strong examination of why the Commonwealth wasn’t chosen. One of the most glaring factors hurting Pennsylvania’s overall business climate is something the PA Chamber has pointed out for decades puts the state at a great disadvantage – an uncompetitive and overly complicated Tax Code.
This member-driven policy item is one that employers throughout the Commonwealth often cite as a major concern. In the PA Chamber’s 28th Economic Survey, business leaders listed the state’s tax structure as one of the top barriers to growth in the state. In fact, when asked about the issues that should top business advocates and lawmakers’ “to-do” lists, the survey of 650 employers said that cutting business taxes should be a top priority.
The uncompetitive nature of the Commonwealth’s Tax Code was also highlighted in a study, “Pennsylvania: A 21st Century Tax Code for the Commonwealth,” – which was authored by the Tax Foundation and funded via a grant by the PA Chamber. One of the key findings of the report shows that Pennsylvania relies more heavily on corporate taxes as a revenue source than most other states. According to the Tax Foundation, when compared to other states, Pennsylvania ranks 4th in terms of corporate income tax collections; and the state’s corporate income tax structure ranks 7th worst in the nation.
That’s why the PA Chamber is advocating for elected officials to take a page out of the federal government’s book and enact comprehensive tax reforms at the state level. At the top of our members’ tax reform priority list is reducing Pennsylvania’s 9.99 percent Corporate Net Income tax rate - the No. 1 red flag for would-be investors. Pennsylvania is also among the only states to cap Net Operating Loss Carryforwards, and the PA Chamber is calling for the total elimination of that cap.
On behalf of our broad-based membership, we continue to advocate that federal tax reforms be mirrored at the state level; while pushing for comprehensive tax policy changes that are needed to make Pennsylvania stand out as a world-renowned economic leader. Our line of communication is always open, so please feel free to contact us any time with your comments and suggestions on how Pennsylvania could become a more inviting home to companies of all sizes.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding Amazon’s decision to split its second headquarters between New York and northern Virginia.
A new study unveiled today by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry highlights the uncompetitive nature of the Commonwealth’s Tax Code. The report, “Pennsylvania: A 21st Century Tax Code for the Commonwealth” – which was authored by the Tax Foundation and funded via a grant by the PA Chamber – delves into how the Commonwealth’s tax structure compares to other states and provides a menu of policy options to improve Pennsylvania’s overall competitiveness.
Few issues draw as much attention as state business taxes for companies seeking to locate or expand operations. Business taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness, and the long-term health of a state’s economy. Taxes on business have been found to be the most harmful to economic growth. If taxes take a larger portion of revenue, that cost is passed along to either consumers (through higher prices), employees (through lower wages or fewer jobs), or shareholders (through lower dividends or share value), or some combination of the above. Thus, a state with lower tax costs will be more attractive to business investment and more likely to experience economic growth.
While positive changes to the Commonwealth’s business taxes occurred over the last few years, other states in the US have made more significant improvements to their tax structure. As a result, the Commonwealth’s tax structure, which includes the highest effective corporate net income tax rate in the country, continues to impede our competitiveness.
The Chamber supports a thorough review and analysis of the current tax structure that includes dynamic econometric modeling. The process for review should be well-balanced in its representation of the business community and designed to make changes to the tax structure that are based on the principles of competitiveness, predictability, fairness and simplicity.
The Chamber supports specific tax changes that encourage companies to locate and expand in Pennsylvania, including:
Similarly, the Chamber opposes tax policy options that hinder a company’s ability to compete in today’s global market. Specifically, the Chamber opposes: