PERMIT us to Build: PA Chamber Leads the Way in Permitting Reform

The PA Chamber proudly works with our members to guide our policy agenda and provide real-world examples of how existing laws impact business operations. This advances our goal of building a business climate that attracts and keeps a strong new generation of employers and workers here in the Keystone State.  And for years, we’ve heard that Pennsylvania’s permitting processes are costly, time consuming, confusing and outdated. We know that if we want to fulfill our mission, we need to modernize permitting processes.

We hit the ground running toward that goal this session. PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein stood with Governor Josh Shapiro just days after the governor was sworn in at a press conference when he announced a new one-stop shop for key development projects to efficiently obtain state permits. The governor said he’s charging state agencies to define by May 1 expected response times and establish a “money back guarantee” if decisions aren’t reached by the determined date. This is an important first step toward permitting reform, with more work to be done.

PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Kevin Sunday has testified with other business advocates at recent state hearings about the need for permitting reform at the state level, where he outlined the importance of state agencies having the resources necessary to timely process applications, setting permit deadlines and reforming the permit appeals process.

At the national level, we also recently joined the “Permit America to Build” coalition and sent a letter to Congress urging federal lawmakers to enact legislation that would modernize permitting processes, making sure that projects are shovel-ready and jobs can be created here in the Commonwealth.

And, it’s not often that you see business and labor agree wholeheartedly on much of anything. But it’s happened in the way of permitting reform, with our own Luke Bernstein and PA State Building and Construction Trades Council President Rob Bair co-authoring a joint op-ed that calls on state lawmakers to enact permitting reforms that will create greater opportunities for workers and employers.

No matter our party affiliation or where we come from, we all want greater opportunities now and in the future. Permitting reform is a critical piece of the puzzle in getting there, and we’re proud to be leading the conversation in making the change we need.