Employers Identify Needs

Representatives of businesses, non-profit organizations, and local government shared their thoughts about how to strengthen area employers at a roundtable discussion last Thursday. Topics of discussion included assisting with the utilization of social media, peer to peer information sharing, and strengthening connections with local education. The program was held at the Chamber’s Berwick office in the Eagles Building and was sponsored by the Chamber, Berwick Area United Way, and its Berwick Marketing Committee.

The participants were asked to identify traits of a strong business and as well as challenges for businesses. While the focus was intended to be on the greater Berwick area, the challenges are relatable to many small and medium sized businesses in the region: finding quality staff, including fostering talent from local youth, keeping up with marketing trends such as social media and online retailing, increasing engagement between local businesses, intergovernmental cooperation, and promoting a positive image for the community.

The Chamber’s Berwick Task Force will debrief and develop action steps to be taken by the Chamber and/or partner organizations. One program is already scheduled for October 21st to help businesses develop an online presence. Click here for a flyer with more details.

B.U.’s Value to the Community Highlighted

Bloomsburg University, The MagazineThe Fall edition of Bloomsburg, The University Magazine, features an article that highlights the many ways Bloomsburg University benefits the area. A number of representatives of Chamber members were interviewed including Autoneum, Fog & Flame Craft Coffee and Espresso Bar, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, First Columbia Bank and Trust, the Columbia County Commissioners, and the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau. Chamber President Fred Gaffney and Downtown Bloomsburg Manager Adrienne Mael also offered comments. The publication is available online at http://magazine.bloomu.edu.

PA Chamber Working to Move Key Pro-Business Bills

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

As House and Senate lawmakers return to Harrisburg this week, the PA Chamber is working to help move several key pro-business bills to the governor’s desk before the November 4 General Election. Key issues that include workers’ compensation reform and preventing union intimidation in the workplace are well positioned to move in the coming weeks.

The Senate is being pressed to pass a number of bills that cleared the House earlier this session. House Bill 2354 would give the public a stronger voice regarding the state’s plans for adhering to new rules by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding its greenhouse gas emissions. This bill is incredibly important to the state’s energy industry, especially the segments connected to coal.

Fighting back on local mandates, House Bill 1796 (similar to H.B. 1807) would prevent individual municipalities from enacting local mandatory employee leave ordinances on employers. This issue has been raised in cities like Philadelphia and is becoming a national concern. The PA Chamber is committed to address the matter before it begins to further impact businesses. Read more about this proposal in this edition of Sentinel.

The PA Chamber is also promoting House Bill 1846, workers’ compensation reform legislation. In a state with increasing workers’ compensation costs, this measure would help curtail unnecessary expense growth by limiting the price markup and the amount of medication doctors can dispense from their office – a move that prevents out-of-state drug repacking companies from driving up prescription drug costs through a loophole in the current law.
In addition to each of these proposals, the PA Chamber continues its focus this fall on helping lawmakers address comprehensive reforms in both the state’s public pension system as well as its system for selling alcohol.

Healthy PA to Save Taxpayers $4 Billion

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Pennsylvania taxpayers are projected to see more than $4 billion in savings over the next eight years thanks to the federal government’s recent approval of the Corbett Administration’s new Healthy PA initiative. By reforming the state’s Medicaid program and brining it more closely in line with plans in the private sector, Healthy PA meets the goals of providing uninsured residents with access to affordable care while gaining better controls on one of the state’s largest cost-drivers.

The new healthcare program will provide 600,000 Pennsylvanians with access to affordable healthcare coverage – a laudable goal given that is will be accomplished without expanding Medicaid under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The PA Chamber has been a major proponent of the governor’s Healthy PA program since he first introduced the plan last fall. Given the rising costs of Medicaid over the last decade – a program that now accounts for nearly 30 percent of the state budget – the reform components of the plan are vital in controlling state spending and fighting new taxes on employers.

In a press release issued following the announcement of the program’s approval, PA Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Sam Denisco said, “The approval of Healthy PA represents a significant step toward controlling the rising costs of Medicaid and providing working families with new and affordable healthcare options. Reforming Medicaid responsibly, while also increasing access to private insurance coverage, is a win-win for everyone.”

2014-15 Directory Increases Member Exposure

DirectoryCover

One of the ways members receive increased exposure through membership is the printed Membership Directory. The Chamber’s 2014-15 Directory has arrived from the printer and is being distributed to dozens of high-traffic locations throughout Columbia and Montour counties. The full-color publication was produced again this year by member Victor Koons Graphic Design.

With the help of volunteer Ambassadors, four-thousand copies of the Directory are distributed to real estate agencies to give to people moving to the area, mailed to people requesting relocation packets, and distributed at prime locations throughout the area such as hotels, professional offices, Bloomsburg University and the Visitors Bureau.

A copy of the 2014-15 Directory is being mailed to each member this week. If you would like additional copies for your place of business, or would like to become a distribution location, please contact the office at 570-784-2522.