For Immediate Release
August 8, 2017
HARRISBURG - Raising concerns regarding the impact a proposed revenue package would have on the Commonwealth’s overall economy and competitive edge, a coalition of business leaders representing a wide variety of industry sectors across the Commonwealth today held a media call to urge the state House to oppose H.B. 542 – the Tax Code bill. The legislation – which narrowly passed the Senate in recent weeks – would increase taxes on Pennsylvania job creators and residents by $600 million annually. The proposal includes a number of tax increases that will significantly raise energy costs for both residential and commercial users – including a new gross receipts tax on natural gas users, an increase to the gross receipts tax on electric users and a severance tax on natural gas.
“Of Pennsylvania’s competitive business advantages, affordable, accessible energy - particularly natural gas - perhaps stands out the most,” said Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr. “This revenue package would attack that advantage by imposing additional punitive taxes on the natural gas and electricity use – increasing energy costs for businesses throughout the Commonwealth. These costs – along with the proposed tax increase on phone use – would reduce Pennsylvania businesses’ ability to compete in the global economy and re-invest in the state, and will result in higher prices to consumers. If we truly want our economy to flourish, state officials need to enact pro-growth policies that will encourage job creation and entice companies to come to Pennsylvania and stay here – which will in turn generate more revenue for the state.”
“In the Senate’s revenue package, over $400 million would come from additional taxes on utilities,” said Energy Association of Pennsylvania President Terry Fitzpatrick. “Using utilities as collection agents for state government isn’t good policy. The Senate plan will put an especially heavy and unfair burden on large energy users.”
“Our members provide 35,000 manufacturing and support jobs throughout the Commonwealth,” said Industrial Energy Consumers of Pennsylvania Treasurer Mark Chasse. “Additionally, IECPA members invest an estimated $312.5 million each year into their Pennsylvania facilities – supporting additional jobs and adding to the Commonwealth’s tax base. However, the proposed taxes in H.B. 542 put this growth and investment at risk. If signed into law, this revenue package would cost IECPA members up to $4.1 million annually – significantly impacting their ability to compete. These targeted energy tax hikes would increase the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania and further slow the state’s stagnant economy.”
“The Senate’s action places Pennsylvania at a competitive disadvantage for new investments for natural gas development and makes manufacturers and employers less competitive,” said Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania Executive Director Stephanie Catarino-Wissman. “Rather than offering proposals that could harm consumers and diminish Pennsylvania’s competitiveness, our elected officials should look at ways to promote public policies that expand Pennsylvania’s opportunity to thrive and position our families to succeed. Bottom line, does Pennsylvania want investment here or elsewhere? The choice should be clear.”
In addition to the PA Chamber, EAP, IECPA and API; the call participants included: Marcellus Shale Coalition President Dave Spigelmyer; Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association President Dan Weaver; and Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association President Dave Taylor.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.