Hi, I’m Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber.
Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.
The Pennsylvania Chamber’s 27th Annual Economic Survey was released just a few weeks ago, and the results show an increased optimism among employers about their economic future and opportunities to invest and grow their business and hire new workers. The survey – which was conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research – found that of the more than 650 business owners who participated, an overwhelming majority – 76 percent – believe that Pennsylvania’s economy is “better” or “the same” as it was a year ago. There’s also an upward trend on the number of employers who said they expect sales to increase, hire more workers and make “major” investments in machinery or technology within the coming months. Another positive finding is that the number of them who list the economy as the greatest hurdle to their success is at a 10 year low.
However, ongoing uncertainty and rising costs in the healthcare market are leading many employers to doubt whether they can provide healthcare to their workers in the long-term. The surveyed business owners overwhelmingly cited “healthcare” as the issue they believe should be at the top of the Pennsylvania Chamber’s policy agenda – a suggestion we are taking to heart by advocating for increased employer flexibility in healthcare options and eliminating costly mandates. The employers also reported struggling this year with burdens we’ve long fought to address in the Capitol – over-taxation, too much regulation, lack of clarity in the unemployment compensation system and rising workers’ compensation costs.
Overall, the survey results prove that while we certainly have a fair share of work ahead of us, we are on the right track to righting the economic ship in the post-recession era. In order to keep the positive momentum going, we realize that one major area of focus needs to be working at the local, state and federal level for clear and fair tax laws that will reap dividends in terms of economic investment. That is why we recently signed on to a U.S. Chamber coalition letter to Congress, urging them to take the necessary legislative actions so that the promise of tax reform can be made a reality. It has been 31 years since Congress last reformed the tax code, and the outdated rules have caused us to miss out on potentially billions of dollars of investment in the years since. We are joining our colleagues at the U.S. Chamber and chambers of commerce across the country in promoting tax reforms that will grow our economy, create more jobs and put more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans. Visit the website TaxReformforAmerica.com to learn more about our collective efforts and contact your members of Congress.
Thanks for spending a minute of your time with the Pennsylvania Chamber, the Statewide Voice of Business.