Hi, I’m Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber.
Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.
Budget hearings recently wrapped up and lawmakers are beginning to set their sights on what the 2018-19 state spending plan should look like. On behalf of our thousands of members statewide, the PA Chamber will be advocating in the halls of the state Capitol over these next several months for a budget agreement that doesn’t single out any industries for higher taxes, while also promoting other pro-growth policies that will ensure the state remains on the path to economic prosperity.
One way is to advocate commonsense regulatory reforms that cut down on the burdensome red tape many businesses face when taking on new projects. We’ve issued several communications to lawmakers this year in support of bills that would streamline and bring efficiency to the permitting process; ensure that the legislature plays a key role in regulatory development; and make certain that consideration is being paid to the economic impact of new regulations on the business community. These policy goals have garnered bipartisan support, and Governor Wolf announced earlier this year that he’s also taking steps to make the state’s permitting and regulatory programs more predictable and accountable.
Another way we’re working toward a stronger business climate is to advocate for legislation that will make our state’s tax climate more competitive. Last month, we were pleased to welcome U.S. Senator Pat Toomey and Congressman Scott Perry to our offices for a conversation with business leaders on how the federal tax reform law is already paying dividends for the nation’s economy, with hundreds of businesses already announcing plans to re-invest their savings from the law into their facilities and workers. We want to see these actions mirrored at the state level, starting with the reduction of Pennsylvania’s uncompetitive Corporate Net Income tax, which at 9.99 percent is the highest effective rate in the United States. In recent weeks, we’ve been urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow for 100 percent bonus depreciation when employers file their corporate taxes, which is included in the federal law but was recently eliminated in Pennsylvania in a bulletin issued by the state Department of Revenue.
Lastly, we’re focused on ensuring that the labor laws on the books are fair to both employers and workers. We continue to be a leading voice in support of Senate Bill 936, which would help to mitigate the opioid abuse crisis in Pennsylvania as it pertains to injured workers. We’re also backing ‘Clean Slate’ legislation that would help low-level offenders get back into the workforce and become contributing members of society. And we continue the push for policies that will modernize the Commonwealth’s outdated prevailing wage laws, among other bills that will help keep project costs down for communities statewide.
Thanks for spending a minute of your time with the Pennsylvania Chamber, the Statewide Voice of Business.