Provide Input to Budget Secretary During Luncheon

PA Budget Secretary Randy Albright will be presenting Governor Wolf’s proposed 2015-16 budget at the Pine Barn Inn from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30th. Members will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide their input to the Secretary. The program is being presented by the Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber and Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau.

Also scheduled to participate in the event are Secretary John Gordner, Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard, and Alex Halper, Director of Government Affairs with the PA Chamber of Business & Industry.

Cost to attend the program is $25 for members, $30 for non-members, which includes a buffet lunch. Download the registration form here or call the Chamber at 570-784-2522.

Member Spotlight

KeyPartnersRealty

The mission of Key Partners Realty LLC, 530 East St., Bloomsburg, is to provide their clients with exceptional professional real estate services through leadership, experience and knowledge. By pursuing educational opportunities, they pledge to provide innovative and cutting-edge strategies in a wide range of services, while always engaging in expected business practices. They believe in the value of home ownership as the fabric of their communities and will continue to give their time and financial resources in support of the communities they serve. They are passionately committed to exceeding their customers’ expectations.

Key Partners Realty is a full-service real estate office that features five partners who are Realtors with education and more than 175 years of combined experience. In addition to their bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and master of science degrees, team members have a variety of real estate credentials, such as Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), At Home With Diversity (AHWD), One America, Accredited Staging Professional (ASP), Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI), Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) and e-PRO. They are also actively involved with the Central Susquehanna Valley Board of Realtors (CSVBR), including serving on the PR and Education committees.

It is also important to the team at Key Partners Realty to be involved in their community, including the Columbia County Industrial Development Authority, BIDA Marketing Committee, Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau, Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc., Winona Food Cupboard, United Way, AGAPE, Angel Tree, Meals on Wheels, Brighter Christmas Fund, Bloomsburg Public Library, Bundles of Blessings and TreeFest.

Learn more about Key Partners Realty at their ribbon cutting this Friday at 4:30 p.m. or by visiting keypartnersrealty.com

The subject of each month’s Member Spotlight is selected from attendees of Chamber events.

Commissioner Candidates Respond to Business Questions

Candidates for County Commissioner in Columbia and Montour counties have provide responses to business-related questions in advance of the May 19thprimary election. The questions were developed by the Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber and Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau and sent to all registered candidates. Their responses are provided unedited except being aggregated and formatted for consistency of presentation.

Responses from the Columbia County Commissioner candidates are available here.

Responses from the Montour County Commissioner candidates are available here.

Governor’s Budget Plan Would Increase Local Tax Burden

Information provided by Rep. David Millard

The House Appropriations Committee last week launched a website which provides information on how the Commonwealth’s taxpayers in each school district would fare under Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed property tax shift plan. If fully implemented, the governor’s plan would raise $8 billion in new taxes by 2016-17, but put only $3.6 billion toward property tax relief. The website shows that taxpayers in approximately 400 of the state’s 500 districts would pay more in personal income and sales taxes than they would receive in property tax relief.

The plan, as proposed, would negatively impact every taxpayer in Columbia and Montour counties. The following is the estimated net impact in the area’s school districts.

•    Benton Area School District: $179,776 in additional taxes.
•    Berwick Area School District: $825,471 in additional taxes.
•    Bloomsburg Area School District: $3,118,377 in additional taxes.
•    Central Columbia School District: $3,732,331 in additional taxes.
*    Danville Area School District: $6,377,761 in additional taxes.
•    Millville Area School District: $812,686 in additional taxes.
•    Southern Columbia Area School District: $2,499,332 in additional taxes.

Chamber President Fred Gaffney participated in a conference call with chambers from across Pennsylvania last week to continue the discussion of Gov. Wolf’s budget proposals. Among the concerns are audacious tax increases and revenue projections in the face of weak economic growth, and the lack of any reform to the public pension systems. A policy statement on the Governor’s plan is being developed.

Chamber Board Supports Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion

Two natural gas pipeline projects that would traverse the area are being planned. These projects would likely benefit the local economy during construction phases and provide long-term opportunities for businesses and residents to utilize Pennsylvania’s natural gas resources. This Tuesday, the Chamber Board passed a resolution supporting the expansion of the gas pipeline infrastructure in Pennsylvania.

The Williams Atlantic Sunrise project would increase the pipeline capacity of the Transco system, which transports natural gas throughout the eastern United States. This project would include the construction of a new pipeline which would run north and south through Columbia County with a new compressor facility somewhere in the northern half of the county. Information about the project is available at www.atlanticsunriseexpansion.com.

UGI’s Sunbury Pipeline project would construct a 35-mile pipeline from the existing Transco pipeline in Lycoming County to Shamokin Dam, through Montour County. The project would allow for the conversion of the former coal-fired Sunbury Generation plant to a natural gas-fueled facility. There is also the possibility that capacity could be increased in that pipeline for use by other customers. Information on this project is available at www.sunburypipeline.com.

The Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber and Visitors Bureau reviewed both projects and recommended the attached resolution supporting the expansion of the natural gas pipeline transmission and distribution infrastructure in Pennsylvania to maximize the potential benefits for the region.