Members of the PA Chamber’s government affairs team recently joined local business leaders and elected officials at the D.G. Yuengling & Son brewery in Mill Creek, participating in a small business roundtable hosted by Congressman Dan Meuser (PA-9). PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs Neal Lesher and Government Affairs Manager Aaron Riggleman participated in the event, which sought to address the mounting concerns and challenges that the region’s small businesses face, with the discussion encompassing a broad range of issues from insurance costs to worker shortages.
The event featured a panel with representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, along with State Reps. Tim Twardzik (R-Schuylkill), Jamie Barton (R-Berks), Joanne Stehr (R-Northumberland), and Robert Leadbeter (R-Columbia).
During a question-and-answer session, attendees voiced challenges related to the workforce, access to capital, permitting reform, and the need to make federal tax reforms permanent, including the 20 percent deduction for small businesses and full bonus depreciation.
The event also provided a platform for local chamber officials to voice their insights. Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Bob Garrett spoke about the effects of worker shortages on PA farmers, while Katie Hetherington Cunfer of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance outlined how underlying shortages across housing and childcare are exacerbating current challenges. Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce president Robert S. Carl Jr. also participated in the event.
Energy affordability and reliability emerged as key topics, with business owners expressing concerns about rising costs and potential federal limitations on the use of natural gas. Congressman Meuser, who chairs the Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, underscored the need for practical, sensible regulations.
The roundtable reinforced the vital role small businesses play in Pennsylvania’s economy and the importance of finding legislative solutions at the state and federal levels to help alleviate these challenges. The session concluded with a tour of the historic D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery in downtown Pottsville.