Chamber Minute

March 2019

Hi, I’m Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber.

Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, whose agency represents 30 million small businesses across America, at a business roundtable discussion at Commonwealth Charter Academy.  CCA is a great example of the benefits of providing school choice, and a leader in preparing students to become the next generation of skilled workers.  One example of this is their recently unveiling of a state-of-the-art aquaponics facility that will help to grow large volumes of food with less water and no soil.  Not surprisingly, much of the conversation McMahon held with the assembled business leaders and lawmakers revolved around agriculture and a sharing of ideas for advancing Pennsylvania’s leading industry in the 21st century.  The discussion also centered on workforce development, which is a cornerstone of the Chamber’s mission; a focus for lawmakers in the current session; and an issue that employers, educators and the general public have collectively recognized as one that needs to be addressed.

In addition to talking about how to develop a workforce with the talent to fill in-demand jobs and make Pennsylvania – and the nation – more competitive, Administrator McMahon also heard directly from business owners about the hurdles they face operating here in the Keystone State.  Specifically, they talked about the burden that unnecessary and outdated regulations have on the agriculture industry, and voiced support for recent reforms that have reduced the sheer number of federal regulations imposed on them.  One roundtable participant raised concerns about the length of time it often takes to get an answer on permitting applications, a problem voiced many times by our members across various industries.  Discussions also centered on difficulties companies face in regard to trade, particularly with the recent imposition of tariffs.  Administrator McMahon expressed her gratitude to the business leaders for sharing their viewpoints and promised to take their comments into consideration as the S.B.A. works to improve outcomes for millions of small businesses nationwide.  Much in the same way, the Pennsylvania Chamber crafts our legislative agenda around the issues that impact our members and the broad-based business community.

Here are your key takeaways from this month’s message:

  • Important workforce development strides are being taken across the public and private sector, and the PA Chamber is proud to be at the center of these discussions as we work collectively to close the jobs skills gap.
  • Business advocates at the state and federal level are working year-round to gather and weigh the concerns of job creators, which we then take to lawmakers to advance pro-growth legislation.

Thank you for spending a minute of your time with the Pennsylvania Chamber, the Statewide Voice of Business.