Chamber Minute

December 2019

PA Chamber Minute December 2019

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

Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.

As we prepare for the second half of the 2019-20 legislative session, several of our members’ top legislative priorities are front and center for the New Year. According to the recent findings of the PA Chamber’s Annual Economic Survey, it’s critical that Pennsylvania retains its commitment to building a 21st century workforce that’s equipped to compete on a global scale, since employers are still citing the job skills gap as their top-of-mind concern.  To that end, we’re continuing our “Start the Conversation Here” initiative and promoting legislation that helps more Pennsylvanians gain access to good paying jobs.

Another pro-growth effort in 2020 will be our support for legislation that aims to improve Pennsylvania’s overall business climate.  A “Small Business Tax Fairness Package” in the state House would remove financial barriers for smaller businesses and bring the Commonwealth’s Tax Code in line with reforms made at the federal level. 

A recent analysis by Wells Fargo found that while the natural gas and biotechnology sectors are booming, manufacturing has suffered.  We believe this is in part due to the impact of tariffs and a national decline in exports. A better national approach to trade is in order, starting with Congressional ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. 1.5 million Pennsylvania jobs depend on international trade, with two of our biggest trading partners being Canada and Mexico.

Lastly, as important conversations are taking place in Harrisburg and Washington about climate and air quality, we’re urging lawmakers to exercise caution in the New Year so that these types of policies do not adversely impact Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry.  Innovation – not higher energy prices – are what’s needed to meet our economy’s demands for sustainable energy.  

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

  • Workforce remains a top focus for the business community in 2020.
  • Enacting pro-growth tax, regulatory and trade policies will help drive our state’s positive economic momentum forward – including ratification of the USMCA agreement.
  • Elected officials should consider the economic impact of environmental policy proposals so as not to hurt our manufacturing sector.

Have a very happy holiday season, and thanks for spending a minute of your time with the Pennsylvania Chamber, the Statewide Voice of Business.