SEDA-COG Requests Input For Travel Needs Survey

SEDA-COG wants to hear from you.  How are you affected by transportation services in the central Pennsylvania region?  How could services better help you, your family, or your business in Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties?

Let us know by participating in a brief online survey.

The survey, available through Oct. 29, is being conducted by the SEDA-COG and Williamsport Metropolitan Planning Organizations, as they update the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan in coming months. They especially want to know what you think about gaps in transportation services affecting seniors, minorities, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities or with limited English language skills.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Steve Herman by email or phone at 570-524-4491. In Lycoming County, feel free to also contact Mark Murawski by email or 570-320-2138.  SEDA-COG and Williamsport Metropolitan Planning both thank you for your time.

 

Chamber Supports Open Meeting Legislation

Legislation under consideration in the PA House of Representatives would require that agendas for public meetings be posted on agency websites at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. With a few exceptions, items not on the published agenda could not be voted upon. The Chamber’s Board of Directors recently expressed support for the bill.

House Bill 1531 would apply to any public agency, including local governments, with a publicly accessible website. Emergency business or minor issues that do not involve the expenditure of funds or entering into a contract or agreement that arise after a published agenda could be acted upon. The legislation was introduced last summer and was reported out of the House Rules Committee in June of this year.

The Chamber Board voted unanimously to support the bill to allow the public to be better informed and offer input on issues. “While meetings of public agencies are open to the public, attending numerous meetings without knowing what is going to be considered is burdensome and typically less productive,” said Fred Gaffney, Chamber president. “Posting agendas online in advance will allow concerned citizens and organizations, including the Chamber, to be better prepared to comment and be more efficient in the decision making process.”

Tax Foundation Report Analyzes PA Tax Code, Offers Recommendations

The PA Chamber unveiled a new study last week, “Pennsylvania: A 21st Century Tax Code for the Commonwealth,” that presents a comparative analysis of the state’s tax structure with other states and provides a menu of policy options to improve Pennsylvania’s tax system and overall competitiveness.

Compiled by the Tax Foundation and funded via a grant from the PA Chamber, the report shows that Pennsylvania relies more heavily on corporate taxes as a revenue source than most other states.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.7 percent of Pennsylvania’s state and local tax collections come from the corporate income tax, while the national average is 3.7 percent.  The heavy reliance on volatile corporate taxes can make the state’s budget process more difficult.  The report ranks Pennsylvania 4th among the states in terms of corporate income tax collections, while the state’s corporate income tax structure ranks 7th worst in the nation.

During a media call that was held last week to share some of the report’s key findings and recommendations, PA Chamber Government Affairs Vice President Sam Denisco expressed optimism that elected officials will have an appetite in the upcoming legislative session to adopt some of these much-needed, long-overdue recommendations.  While Denisco acknowledged that strides have been made in recent years to boost the state’s competitiveness, he said that a reduction in Pennsylvania’s 9.99 percent Corporate Net Income Tax rate and a full elimination of the cap on Net Operating Losses would significantly improve the state’s opportunities to attract investment and create jobs.

The report has since been highlighted in stories in the Central Penn Business Journal, Capitolwire and the Pittsburgh Business Times.

“In order to compete in today’s global economy, we need to take a page out of the federal government’s book and take a hard look at the shortcomings within the state’s Tax Code,” Denisco said in a press release.  “This study provides an unbiased analysis of where Pennsylvania ranks compared to other states and offers solutions to streamline and simplify the Tax Code, while at the same time growing the state’s economy.”

Member News – September 12, 2018

Member News

  • The Penn State World Campus will hold a number of informational webinars in September for those that may be interested in pursuing a degree or certification through Penn State’s online/virtual delivery unit. Tonight, Sept. 12, from 8-9 p.m., there will be an information webinar on the redesigned Penn State Online MBA. Then, on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 7-8 p.m., there will be an online MBA sample class in which interested individuals can discover what it’s like to be a student in the Penn State Online MBA program. For a complete listing of upcoming PSU World Campus information events and news, check out its Sept. newsletter for alliance partners, through which all employees of Columbia Montour Chamber members, their spouses and dependents are eligible for a 5% discount on tuition through the Penn State World Campus. 

 

  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will host a special presentation on how federal tax reform, signed into law last December, is impacting charitable planning for businesses this afternoon, Sept. 12 at the Iron Fork at Frost Valley Resort in Danville. An afternoon session focusing on businesses will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres served at 4 p.m. There is no cost to attend. See the flyer for additional information. RSVP by by emailing or calling Karri Harter at 570-752-3930 ext. 6. 

 

  • Innotek Computer Consulting was recently ranked as one of the top managed service providers (MSPs) in a worldwide study conducted by Channel Futures. The online media company devoted to the Information Technology (IT) field publishes its annual MSP 501 ranking list, the IT channel’s first, largest and most comprehensive industry ranking survey. Innotek came in ranked #441 in the world out of thousands of submission from across the globe. See the full list here

 

  • Bloomsburg University will be conducting a test of its emergency siren system this Friday, Sept. 14 at 9:50 a.m. Emergency management agencies have been notified. 

 

  • The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will hold a free concert this Friday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium featuring classical Arabic music, Sufi music of northern Egypt and music popular along the Nile River.

    Mohamed Abozekry & Karkadé

    It will feature Mohamed Abozekry, an oud (lute) master still in his mid-20s, who brilliantly explores Egypt’s popular and classical music traditions, Sufi calls, and secular poetry with a new instrumental project called Karkadé. With Karkadé, his new project that he is bringing to the United States for the first time, he evokes the fragrant hibiscus tea found in Cairo and the eponymous French café at which the ensemble was born. He is joined by Farag Hamouda (ney – flute), Lotfy Aly (violin), Hany Bedeir (riqq – percussion), and Aly Mohamed (dehola/daf – percussion).

 

  • The Borough of Danville’s Flood Resiliency Task Force will host a flood insurance policy seminar at the Danville Borough building, 463 Mill St., Danville, on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. Stetler Insurance Associates will present information regarding what should be included on the flood insurance policy declaration page, review common mistakes seen on flood insurance policies, and answer questions. The Flood Resiliency Task Force is made up of representatives from real estate, banking and insurance industries, as well as local residents and Borough staff. See the flyer for additional information, or contact Jamie Shrawder at 570-275-3091 ext. 3 or email

 

  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will hold a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 5, from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Iron Fork’s banquet room to celebrate the grants made to community organizations through the Danville Area Community Foundation. Local nonprofit organizations will be presented with the 2018 grant awards. There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is requested. RSVP online or by emailing or calling Karri Harter at 570-752-3930 ext. 6. 

 

  • NEPIRC, DRIVE and SEDA-COG will team up to host a Lunch and Learn titled “Cybersecurity Trends & Safeguards for Manufacturers” on Tuesday, Oct. 23,  from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Monty’s on the Bloomsburg University campus. This free seminar is specifically intended for manufacturers and helping them respond to current threats and trends in the cybersecurity world. Topics covered will include ransomware, hacking, breaches and disasters, and safeguards will also be presented including best practices for prevention, mitigation and incident response. See the flyer for more information, and register online, by email, or call 570-704-0018. 

 

  • MePush will be hosting a series of study sessions throughout the fall at its conference room at 130 Buffalo Rd., Lewisburg, for information technology professionals that are taking and interested in getting together to study for the Cisco CCNA exam. This major certification in the IT industry is a big undertaking for some, so MePush would like to offer a forum to help other IT pros in the area improve their skills and certifications. If interested, please email Art so MePush can have a headcount. 

Members Learn About AGAPE’s Work, Numerous Volunteer Opportunities

While it certainly wasn’t planned out this way back when Business After Hours were scheduled for 2018 late last year, the timing of the Chamber’s second Business After Hours of August couldn’t have been better to highlight the needs of AGAPE, as it once again took on a leading role in the local flood recovery efforts. At the event held on Aug. 29 at AGAPE’s facility in downtown Bloomsburg, attendees not only had an opportunity to see and hear about AGAPE’s many accomplishments during the last decade as it celebrates its 10th anniversary, but they also saw firsthand some of AGAPE’s ongoing needs as well as the many opportunities to get involved on a volunteer basis.

AGAPE’s biggest need from a volunteer standpoint is help to cook and serve its weekly community meal to those in need, which is done each Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed to come for just a few hours, prepare and cook (if appropriate) the meal, and then serve it. AGAPE will take anything anyone can give, but is generally not looking for a big time commitment from anyone, as if just a few people or groups from organizations such as churches or civic organizations could commit just a few hours a month, that would go a long way. In addition to its weekly community meal, AGAPE’s main mission is to fill in the gaps for those in need that don’t always get addressed by public welfare programs. It is helped thousands of people over the last decade, and its mission is to eventually go out of business because there won’t be any more needs in our community. Read more about AGAPE in this Member Spotlight from last year. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be held at the Quality Inn Bloomsburg, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Prior to the After Hours, there will be a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. for the new renovations that were recently completed at the hotel.