PA Chamber Applauds Wolf Budget Proposal’s Focus on Bipartisan Workforce Efforts

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regard to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2020-21 budget address:

“We applaud and support the governor’s continued focus on addressing Pennsylvania’s workforce issues and closing an existing jobs skills gap.  This is an issue that impacts businesses of all sizes across all industry sectors – in fact for the second year in a row, employers ranked it as their top of mind issue in the PA Chamber’s Annual Economic Survey.  And it’s one that’s preventing the Commonwealth from moving forward.  The past year – including the enactment of a first-of-its-kind ‘Clean Slate’ Act — has demonstrated the powerful impact of lawmakers working in a bipartisan fashion, and we look forward to continuing this momentum in the year ahead.  We’re pleased to continue our work with the Governor’s Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center and legislative leadership to raise awareness of the concerns and needs of the business community in the state’s evolving jobs market and identify innovative solutions to addressing the jobs skills gap and removing barriers to work.

“We agree that the state’s Corporate Net Income Tax rate – which has the second highest effective rate in the nation – is too high and needs to be reduced.  We encourage lawmakers to move forward with substantial state tax reform – starting with a reduction to the CNI rate – that is based on the principles of competitiveness, fairness, predictability and simplicity. 

“We remain concerned, however, about the administration’s aggressive proposal to more than double the state’s minimum wage to $15, which will increase labor costs and could lead to significant job loss. A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that a $15 minimum wage could lead to as many as 3.7 million lost jobs.  It’s also important to note that while the government mandated wage hasn’t increased, a report by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office shows that entry level workers in the Commonwealth are not likely to remain at the starting wage level, instead seeing wage gains shortly after entering the workforce.  Rather than punitive government mandates that will hurt job creation and decrease the number of entry-level positions in the Commonwealth, lawmakers should pursue policies that target support to low-income families without risking jobs.”