FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 5, 2013
PA Chamber: Corbett’s state budget
provides framework for continued progress
HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry today applauded Gov. Tom Corbett for presenting another proposed state budget that would continue to prioritize state government spending, while tackling significant public policy issues facing the Commonwealth and its taxpayers.
The governor unveiled his 2013-14 spending plan on Tuesday, Feb. 5 before a joint session of the General Assembly.
Pennsylvania Chamber President Gene Barr said job creators welcome the administration’s expressed commitment to transportation funding and public pension reform, as well as the governor’s call for improvements to the Commonwealth’s business tax climate in order to foster business growth and investment.
Barr stressed that providing a safe and efficient transportation system for commerce and for the motoring public is an essential function of state government.
Barr commended the governor for his efforts to establish a sustainable, long-term and steady funding stream for the multiple modes of transportation that make up Pennsylvania’s aging transportation infrastructure.
Barr added that the governor’s approach is consistent with the PA Chamber’s member-driven transportation policy in that most of the funding in the governor’s plan would come from user fee revenue and greater efficiencies within the state Department of Transportation.
In addition, Barr said reducing the grossly uncompetitive Corporate Net Income tax – for a long time now the second-highest in the nation at 9.99 percent, and an immediate red flag for those making business investment decisions – would be another long overdue improvement to the business climate.
"Lowering the corporate tax rate, along with other business tax reforms, would build on the pro-jobs, pro-growth tax, lawsuit abuse and labor law reforms enacted over the past two years," he said.
The governor also presented his ideas for addressing the unfunded liability within the State Employees’ Retirement System and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System.
"Job creators view the more than $44 billion unfunded liability in the state’s two public pension systems as a threat to all Pennsylvania business and individual taxpayers," Barr said. "The governor’s leadership in addressing the pension debt and creating sustainable retirement plans for state employees is essential to improving the chances that meaningful reform will happen this budget cycle."
Barr said PA Chamber members also appreciate the governor’s leadership on state store privatization in putting forward a comprehensive proposal to improve and modernize alcohol sales in the Commonwealth.
"The governor presented a compelling, comprehensive plan, as have other lawmakers who support sweeping changes to the manner in which alcohol is sold and distributed in the Commonwealth," he said. "It is long past time for the state to get out of the liquor business; it is not a core function of state government. We believe a responsible private system would better improve the buying experience for customers by promoting competitive pricing and increased convenience, while continuing to generate revenue for the Commonwealth."
Barr said prior budgets have made tough choices that will ultimately benefit the Commonwealth in the long-term, and the governor’s latest proposal is no different.
"The state still faces a lot of challenges for which there are no easy answers." He said. "The business community is encouraged by the budget framework presented today. We look forward to working with the Corbett administration and state lawmakers on these issues and other policies that will continue to move the Commonwealth forward and strengthen the private sector."
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy organization, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of Business