HARRISBURG – This week, representatives from dozens of local chambers of commerce and business organizations from across the state gathered in Harrisburg to participate in Chamber Day, an annual event that offers business leaders an opportunity to coordinate their advocacy efforts and hear directly from elected officials and cabinet members about the policies and regulations relevant to the Commonwealth’s broader business community.
“Pennsylvania has enormous potential,” PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein said. “From our prime location, rich history, strong infrastructure, industrial diversity, business resources, world-class academic institutions, and hardworking people — the Keystone State has it all.”
“To capitalize on these advantages and make Pennsylvania the most competitive state in the nation, our business community must continue to advocate for pro-growth policies that include accelerating the reduction of the corporate net income tax rate, improving the treatment of net operating losses, modernizing the state permitting system, and addressing the present workforce shortage,” Bernstein continued. “Advancement of these initiatives will significantly enhance our business climate, make our state more competitive, and create additional opportunities for all Pennsylvanians.”
This year’s program kicked off at the state Capitol, with welcome remarks from House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia). Afterward, attendees received an update on state budget negotiations from Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) and Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster), the respective chairmen of the House and Senate Majority Appropriations Committees.
Following the budget discussion, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger spoke about how the agency is focused on positioning Pennsylvania as an attractive tourism destination and enabling companies of all sizes to build, grow, and create good-paying jobs here.
Attendees then heard from the PA Chamber’s top-tier Government Affairs team about efforts to enact a pro-growth agenda, emphasizing tax reform, permitting reform, and workforce development as top priorities for budget negotiations and the current session.
Bernstein also spoke about the important role that local chambers of commerce play as partners in helping the state’s business community realize their shared policy goals.
The remainder of the day’s agenda included a series of panel discussions. First, a discussion examining Pennsylvania’s ongoing workforce challenges from a higher education perspective featured representatives from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, and Penn State.
Next, high-speed internet connectivity took center stage as attendees received a briefing from the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority on efforts at both the state and federal levels to expand access to reliable broadband web service.
Finally, the event concluded with an Issues Forum, during which attendees voiced many of the challenges their members are experiencing. Participants also engaged in dialogue with representatives from the PA Chamber and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about promoting pro-growth policies that will enhance the Commonwealth’s overall economic prospects.