Rep. Arvind Venkat Joins December Chamber Community Call

State Rep. Arvind Venkat (D-Allegheny) was the special guest for the final monthly Chamber Community Call of 2023, hosted virtually last Friday, December 8, by the PA Chamber’s government affairs team.

During the meeting, Rep. Venkat highlighted his background as a clinical researcher and emergency physician, explaining that his motivation to run for office came during the pandemic in order to bring his medical expertise to the state legislature. Engaging with the business community is a priority for Rep. Venkat, who spoke of his pragmatic personal approach to relationship-building and governance.

In addressing House Democrats’ business agenda, Rep. Venkat described their intent to strike a balance between fostering a business-friendly environment and ensuring that the benefits of economic growth reach employees and workers. He also spoke passionately of his support for medical debt relief legislation.

Rep. Venkat also spoke in favor of enacting pro-growth reforms to the state’s business tax policies, including the acceleration of the Corporate Net Income Tax (CNI) phasedown and improvements to the treatment of Net Operating Losses (NOLs). However, he also expressed a desire to condition these reforms on increases to the state’s minimum wage. He also briefly discussed legislation he is introducing with Rep. Marla Brown (R-Lawrence) to waive startup fees for small businesses in Pennsylvania.

Following Rep. Venkat’s update, the PA Chamber provided a government affairs update, noting that legislature returns this week for the last session week of 2023 with a focus on finalizing the 2023-2024 state budget.

PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs Neal Lesher discussed the ongoing negotiations between the House and Senate on fiscal and school code legislation that remains unfinished in this year’s budget. Primary points of contention include proposals to increase funding for the Educational Investment Tax Credit (EITC) in the school code and various competing priorities in the fiscal code.

Lesher also addressed upcoming technology-related legislation, emphasizing the PA Chamber’s preference for a national framework on data privacy. Bills related to data privacy, including H.B. 1201, are expected to move forward this week, with ongoing concerns about implementation timelines and thresholds.

PA Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Alex Halper touched on the recent House passage of H.B. 1481, legislation that would make striking workers eligible to collect unemployment compensation benefits, detrimentally affecting businesses and taxpayers alike. Halper also touched on Gov. Josh Shapiro’s recent appeal of the Commonwealth Court’s RGGI decision.

The U.S. Chamber’s Maggie Woodin also provided a federal update, covering topics such as the overtime threshold, joint-employer standard, and pending bills related to national defense funding and FAA reauthorization. International aid for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, along with domestic border security provisions, are also under consideration at the federal level.


Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.