Hi, I’m Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber.
Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.
General Election Day was a mixed bag for the state’s business community. Of the 125 legislative candidates who were endorsed by ChamberPAC, the political arm of the PA Chamber, 107 of them won their races on November 6th, with two races still undecided as of this filming. While some solidly pro-business lawmakers unfortunately lost their races, the control of the Legislative and Executive branches remains largely unchanged going into 2019. Strong Republican majorities continue to hold in both the House and Senate, and Democrat Governor Tom Wolf won re-election.
In the time between now and January, when the new session kicks off, we’re thanking the PA Chamber’s broad-based membership for helping us accomplish a lot in 2017-18. This includes taking a great first step toward reining in Pennsylvania’s public pension crisis; enacting a legislative fix to a costly workers’ comp state Supreme Court case; and preventing $2 billion worth of tax increases from being forced upon businesses and individual taxpayers. Despite these victories, there were other areas of disappointment – especially the governor’s veto of a bill that would have set up a prescription drug formulary within Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system and helped to curb the ongoing opioid epidemic as it relates to injured workers. The highs and lows of this past session can be found on our website in a recently published “End of Session” report. We also published a “How They Voted” legislative scorecard that shows how lawmakers voted on several bills of importance to the business community. I encourage you to check out both of these comprehensive documents to identify the issues that the business community weighed with the most importance over the last two years, as we get a sense for where we’re headed in 2019.
Fittingly, the new session will begin when lawmakers are sworn in on New Year’s Day – a day that’s synonymous with fresh starts. As the PA Chamber finalizes our member-driven 2019 agenda, we’re optimistic about what the new session will bring. We’re confident that by working with pro-growth elected officials, we can successfully enact policies that will allow the private sector to thrive.
Thanks for spending a minute of your time with the Pennsylvania Chamber, the Statewide Voice of Business.