As we go into 2015, there is no shortage of issues in Harrisburg that will significantly impact the Lower Bucks County business community. An important place to voice your concerns regarding these issues is with your Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce. Your Chamber wants to hear what you have to say about how these issues affect your business, and the message you would like us to send to Harrisburg to help government work with you to make Pennsylvania more business friendly.
The Economics and Government Group, through its Advocacy Committee, acts as the sounding board and information gathering resource for your Chamber’s Executive Board. It is where you can participate most directly in helping shape the Advocacy Committee’s agenda and the positions it recommends to the Executive Board for official Chamber positions. Please help us make sure your voice is heard by joining the Economics and Government Group. We meet the first Thursday of every month, at the Chamber’s offices, at 8:30 AM.
Issues on the table for 2015 include:
1) Entitlement Spending
It has been argued that pension spending is the biggest issue facing the Commonwealth. It (along with Medicaid and prisons) contributes hugely to the ongoing and growing costs of maintaining government programs. By some estimates, our costs for these programs are growing by $1 billion annually while revenue is growing by $300 million annually. It does not take an economics major to realize that we have a problem.
2) Investment Spending:
• Increased funding to basic education.
• Increased funding to higher education.
• Increased funding to economic development through programs such as CRIZ (City Revitalization and Improvement Zone).
3) New sources of revenue that could be considered in 2015?
• Should the consideration of new sources of revenue be contingent on, or independent from, first achieving cuts in entitlement spending.
• Severance Tax (taking into consideration any potential impact on a possible new Royal Dutch Shell ethane cracker in western Pa.)
• Personal Income Tax Increase.
4) Other topics:
• Liquor privatization will be a topic of discussion in the Legislature since it was a priority of the new House Speaker, Representative Mike Turzai. Possible proposals include:
o Leave the current system alone.
o Sell the system to private concerns.
o Enhance the system (better selection, better pricing, and convenience).
• Medicaid expansion.
• Medical (or otherwise) marijuana (think prison costs, taxes, work force impact, etc.)
Information. Understanding. Advocacy
–Dan Bates, Chamber President
–Bill Pelosi, Chair Economics and Government