PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein and Vice President of Public Affairs Jon Anzur visited Schuylkill County last Wednesday, meeting with local businesses and learning more about the key issues in the region.
The day started with a visit to America’s oldest brewery and one of the largest beer makers in the country – Yuengling! The team toured the company’s Pottsville facility and met with President and Owner Dick Yuengling and CFO/COO Dave Casinelli. Yuengling is an iconic Pennsylvania brand and one of hundreds of breweries in the state. In fact, Pennsylvania is home to more than 400 independent craft breweries that produce more than three million barrels of beer annually, the second most in the U.S., and has a $6 billion economic impact here. With the right policies and promotion, Pennsylvania could – and should – become the Napa Valley for beer!
Next, the team joined Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce President Bob Carl and his members for lunch and discussion touching on the recent election and legislative priorities. The PA Chamber values its partnerships with local chambers, and the Schuylkill Chamber is a great example of how chambers serve their communities. In August, state Rep. Tim Twardzick held a field hearing where a local small business owner reported a significant increase to his unemployment compensation tax rating. Bob Carl notified the PA Chamber. We discovered that pandemic shutdowns were unintentionally triggering imminent UC tax rate increases on nearly 3,000 businesses across the Commonwealth. Working with Rep. Twardzick, Sen. Dave Argall, and other elected officials, we were able to develop and pass legislation to provide a targeted, temporary exemption so these employers who were forced to shut down during the pandemic can maintain the lower unemployment compensation tax rate they earned.
After lunch, the team headed to see the impressive growth happening at Koppy’s Propane, a family owned and operated business that has heated Pennsylvania homes and businesses since 1944. It was great to see their state-of-the-art rail terminal near Tremont and learn more about the many advantages of this important fuel source, which Koppy’s sources from natural gas. Check them out here!