U.S. Senator Pat Toomey discussed a number of issues which he feels is hindering economic recovery in the United States at a Town Hall meeting held Monday in Danville. During the one-hour event held at the Pine Barn Inn, the Senator outlined his two main areas of concern, excessive government spending, and federal regulation that has “run amok”. Members of the Governmental Affairs Committee were among the approximately 40 people in attendance.
Toomey feels that the Federal government should not only abide by the spending caps previously passed, but work to decrease spending overall, as annual debt service currently exceeds economic output. A compounding frustration for the Senator is that discussions about tax code reform are met with suggestions of tax increases by leading Democrats in Washington. He feels that the President “pulled the rug out” from the possibility of business tax reductions with recent comments about offsetting revenue losses with other tax increases.
Increasing Federal regulations and mandates are a burden to business and hindering growth, according to Toomey. New banking regulations passed in 2010 following the financial crisis have resulted in financial institutions spending significantly more resources on compliance issues. EPA regulations are causing coal-fired power plants to be shuttered and ethanol policy is increasing the cost of fuel and corn-based products, with no environment benefits, he says. Toomey says that he plans to offer at least several amendments to the energy bill when it is taken up by the Senate in several weeks. While he would prefer to see full repeal of the measure, there does not appear to be sufficient support to do so.
The most pressing government mandate impacting businesses is the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”. Senator Toomey pointed out that businesses are already cutting back on the number of employees by those close to the 50 FTE threshold, and hours of part-time employees are being limited to under 30 per week to avoid the requirement that health insurance be provided. The employer penalty for businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees has been delayed until 2014, and Senator Toomey he would vote to block funding for further implementation of the Act. The Chamber has scheduled a seminar with our benefits partner, ChamberChoice, to help members understand upcoming requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The seminar will be held on September 10th at the Pine Barn Inn in Danville. Click here for more information and to register.
CCN News 8 in Danville covered the Town Hall meeting and has video on their website. Members also have the opportunity to discuss these and other issues with Congressman Lou Barletta at a breakfast meeting next Friday, September 6th, at The Links at Hemlock Creek. Click here to register for that event.