Chamber Minute

July 2019

PA Chamber Minute July 2019

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

Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.

I’m happy to begin this month’s message with the news that the Commonwealth wrapped up the month of June with a new budget in place for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year.  Even more importantly, the nearly $34 billion plan does not include any new taxes on business or individual taxpayers.  This is due in large part to the PA Chamber’s work with pro-business lawmakers to ensure a responsible budget that will continue to drive the state’s positive economic momentum, private sector investment and job growth forward.

At the end of the 2018-19 Fiscal Year, Pennsylvania had collected $1 billion more in revenue than initially anticipated.  A recent story in the Philadelphia Inquirer backs up what our organization says is a main reason behind this revenue boost – comprehensive tax reforms at the federal level.  The success of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act that was signed in late 2017 played a key role in jumpstarting the economy and generating these extra dollars. Lawmakers responsibly decided to replenish the state’s nearly depleted Rainy Day Fund by $318 million, in order to prepare for any future economic downturns.  The PA Chamber is pointing to the benefits of this federal law as we advocate for similar reforms at the state level – namely, a reduction in Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income Tax rate, which at 9.99 percent presents a major red flag to would-be investors.  We are also promoting a complete elimination of the cap on Net Operating Losses, and other tax reforms that are highlighted in the Advocacy section of our website that will help to improve employer confidence and the state’s overall competitiveness.

This year’s budget agreement was also reached without the inclusion of two policies on which the PA Chamber continues to fight – a proposed increase in the minimum wage and a punitive additional tax on natural gas companies.   We expect that both of these issues will re-emerge in the fall.  On behalf of our broad-based membership, we’re leading the effort to advance public policy opposition in favor of laws that will empower employers to invest and remain in Pennsylvania and create the kinds of jobs that will build a powerful 21st century economy.  This means that holding the line on state spending and promoting fiscal responsibility should continue to be the foundation of future budget agreements.

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