For Immediate Release
February 5, 2019
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regard to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget address:
“We commend the governor for using his budget address to shine a spotlight on the need for the private sector and government to work together to ensure Pennsylvania’s workforce is equipped to meet the needs of the state’s evolving jobs market. On behalf of the Commonwealth’s broad-based business community, I am honored to co-chair the governor’s new workforce initiative – which aims to bring together the various elements of state government that oversee workforce development programs with the private sector to identify ways to help close the jobs skills gap, fill the many open positions that already exist throughout the state and make us more competitive on a national and global scale.
“We are, however, concerned with some components of the governor’s proposal – including an aggressive mandated increase to entry level wages to eventually $15 an hour across the Commonwealth. Countless independent studies have shown that these policies lead to negative impacts on employment, including job loss. A Congressional Budget Office report found that an increase to $10.10 an hour would result in the loss of 500,000 to 1 million jobs nationwide and a state-specific report from the PA Independent Fiscal Office reached comparable conclusions. Going to $15 per hour will only exacerbate these impacts and those mostly likely to be harmed are the very low-income, lesser-skilled workers whom advocates claim they want to help. We instead call on lawmakers and the governor to develop modern, smart policies that will help struggling Pennsylvanians without hurting employers and risking jobs.”
“Additionally, we are disappointed by the administration’s continued call for an additional tax on the state’s natural gas industry. Access to affordable energy is one of the Commonwealth’s strongest competitive advantages. And yet, despite the fact that the impact tax - which distributes money among all 67 Pennsylvania counties - is on track to bring in record high collections for 2018, this industry is once again being targeted for additional taxation. We are at risk of losing our competitive edge in the critical energy arena if state elected officials continue to look at higher energy taxes as a way to generate more revenue for government spending.”
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.