Workforce Development, State Budget Discussed at 2019 Chamber Day

More than 90 state and local chamber representatives from across the Commonwealth, including Columbia Montour Chamber president Fred Gaffney, gathered in Harrisburg on Tuesday, June 4h for the 2019 Chamber Day at the State Capitol. The annual event is co-hosted by the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals during one of the busiest times of the year in the Capitol, as state elected officials work to finalize the 2019-20 budget. The event provides a forum for constructive dialogue between local business leaders and policymakers on key issues important to the state’s business community and the best ways to improve the Commonwealth’s business climate.

“Thanks to the strong economy, state revenues are approximately $800 million above projections, “ said Gaffney. “As a result, House and Senate leaders anticipate a smooth budget process which will hopefully allow legislators to focus on reforms to further improve Pennsylvania’s business climate.”

The program featured several panel discussions focusing on topics including workforce development and transportation and infrastructure in the Commonwealth. Welcoming remarks were provided by Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny. Attendees received an update on the status of state budget negotiations from the Appropriations Committee Chairs from each legislative chamber: Senate Majority Chair Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and Minority Chair Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia; and House Majority Chair Stan Saylor, R-York, and House Minority Chair Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery. State Treasurer and Berwick native Joe Torsella delivered the keynote luncheon address and spoke about a proposal that would allow small businesses to offer retirement savings plans to employees. He anticipates that legislation will be introduced in the months following the budget process. A representative of the Treasurer’s office is scheduled to participate in the Chamber’s Spring Legislative Breakfast on Thursday, June 13t to speak about the program.

Several Census Job Opportunities Available

From U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau has many field operations to complete prior to Census Day, which is April 1, 2020.

Could you use a little extra income? Jobs for the 2020 Census offer competitive wages that are paid weekly. Authorized expenses, such as mileage, are reimbursed for employees doing fieldwork.

Working for the Census Bureau helps support your community.Decennial census data are used to determine your representation in Congress, as well as how funds are spent for roads, schools, hospitals, and more. Help ensure that everyone in your community is counted in the next decennial census.

Census jobs can also be flexible to fit your schedule. Temporary positions for the 2020 Census feature flexible hours—a perfect fit if you are looking to earn a little extra money, even if you already have other commitments.

Every 10 years since 1790, the United States has undertaken the momentous task of counting all of its residents. This is your chance to play a role.

Apply herehttps://2020census.gov/jobs

IFO Projects Solid 2018-19 Gains, Moderate Economic Slowdown to Come

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

During a revenue update briefing last week, Independent Fiscal Office Executive Director Matt Knittel said that while the Commonwealth will end the 2018-19 fiscal year with a surplus, many of the factors contributing to that increase will be short lived.

The IFO is estimating more than $860 million more in revenue this year than was initially anticipated due in large part to strong corporate profits and a bump in taxes on internet-based sales.  However, Knittel expressed skepticism at the likelihood of significant surpluses going forward, as the current surplus can also be attributed to a one-time windfall from gaming revenue, along with some income shifting maneuvers from taxpayers to maximize the benefits to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  In addition, much of the unexpected revenue for this Fiscal Year has already been spent – with Gov. Tom Wolf requesting approximately $500 million for Medicaid costs, and $200 million related to a proposed fund transfer that has been denied by the courts.  With the remaining money, both the governor and legislative leaders have already expressed their desire to put more money into the Rainy Day Fund in order to better prepare for any future economic downturns.

In the near term, the IFO is predicting that Pennsylvania’s economic climate will remain healthy – projecting further growth in real GDP, jobs and private sector profits that have helped to drive additional corporate tax revenue (the projection for FY 2019-20 is CNIT revenue growth of 3.5 percent).

However, Knittel added that there are signs of potential economic deceleration going forward due to the fading impact of the federal income tax cut and a more moderate pace of job creation.  According to the IFO, these changes may be related to the upcoming 2020 presidential election (which typically forces businesses and consumers to slow down on investment, but doesn’t necessarily signal that a recession is on the horizon).

Further details on the IFO’s current fiscal year wrap up and projections for 2019-20 are available here.

Summer Weather Travel Tips

From rabbittransit

  • Plan Ahead: Bring extra beverages to stay hydrated while waiting for pickup. If you must wait outside, wear a hat and sunscreen and seek shade to avoid harmful effects from the sun.
  • Wear Loose and Comfortable Clothing: As temperatures warm up, remember to dress appropriately for the summer heat. rabbittransit vehicles are air-conditioned, but you may have to wait outside for pick-up. Loose clothing lowers the risk of heat stroke and keeps you comfortable as you travel.
  • Step Carefully: Bus floors and steps may become slippery from summer rainstorms. Remember to always maintain three points of contact—one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot—when boarding or exiting the bus.
  • Stay Informed: Storms and increased summer traffic may cause unexpected delays. Sign up for Rider Alerts to receive an automated phone call, email or text message about unexpected service changes. Visit rabbittransit.org/alerts to sign up today.

PennDOT to Host Public Meeting for Routes 11 and 487 Reconstruction Project in Bloomsburg

From PennDOT

PennDOT Engineering District 3 will host a public meeting for the Routes 11 and 487 Reconstruction Project in the Town of Bloomsburg. The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at Monty’s, located on the campus of Bloomsburg University.

The purpose of the meeting is to present plans to reconstruct Route 11 (East Street) and Route 487 (East/Poplar Street and Ferry Road) curb-to-curb from Main Street to the Susquehanna River Bridge. State Route 11 (Columbia Boulevard) from 6th Street to Park Street will be milled and resurfaced. The existing traffic signals at the 5th Street, 6th Street and 7th Street intersections with East Street will be replaced. The existing curb lines and curb ramps will be rebuilt, and the existing drainage system will be improved. The Town of Bloomsburg is developing a streetscape project to construct sidewalks and streetscape lighting, which will be incorporated into the PennDOT project.

The roadway will be reconstructed with phased closures and a posted detour. The roadway will be reconstructed in short phases such that the entire roadway length will not be closed for the full project duration.

The project will be constructed over a period of three construction seasons with winter shutdowns. Work tentatively is scheduled to begin in the spring 2021. The project contractor will host another public meeting in early 2021 and prior to the start of construction to present the proposed phasing of the construction schedule.

If you have questions regarding this study, or if you require special accommodations, please contact Mr. Justin Gochenauer, PennDOT Project Manager, at [email protected], or at (717) 221-2010.