PA Business Leaders Favor State Spending Cuts

Columnist : Lincoln Institute

But, Overall They Support Ridge Budget Priorities

     Harrisburg (PA) – A strong economy has left Pennsylvania’s state treasury overflowing with tax dollars.  But, the Lincoln Institute’s Spring 2000 Keystone Business Climate Survey found that the state’s major employers agree with a group of conservative lawmakers who say the time has come to put the brakes on spending.

The Commonwealth Caucus, a group of House members and one Senator, have called upon the Ridge Administration to curtail spending and pass a no spending increase budget for the 2000 – 2001 fiscal year.  While top corporate executives participating in the Lincoln Institute survey have a generally positive view (55%) of Governor Ridge’s proposed budget, they also feel the time has come to get spending under control.

Fifty-eight percent of the chief executive officers surveyed said they think is very important for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to begin cutting spending.  Another 35% said spending cuts are a somewhat important step that needs to be taken. Only 7% of those responding felt cutting spending was an unimportant policy option at this time.

Overall, corporate leaders are highly supportive of Governor Ridge’s proposed budget priorities. In particular, 60% felt a continuation of the manufacturer’s exemption to the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax was vitally important.  Another 24% felt continuation of the exemption was somewhat important.  Just 5% rated continuation of the manufacturer’s exemption to be an unimportant policy consideration while 11% offered no opinion.

Corporate leaders also feel the proposed phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax over a ten-year period is too long.  Eighty percent hold that view while 15% think ten years is about the right amount of time. Two percent think the phase out should take longer.

Eighty-two percent of the business chieftains surveyed said there should be further reductions in Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax.  Another 14% thought the tax currently is set at about the right rate.