Recent Economic Trends Must Be Considered When Evaluating Wolf Budget

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4, 2019 – An advisor for the Federal Reserve Board shared the most recent Pennsylvania and national economic data with small business owners and lawmakers today, a day before Gov. Wolf’s scheduled Budget Address. The briefing put on by NFIB, the leading small business association, and the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers revealed several concerns about Pennsylvania’s economic future.

“NFIB’s research and a Federal Reserve Board survey of business owners both show the number one concern right now is finding qualified workers,” said Gordon Denlinger, state director of NFIB in Pennsylvania. “It is important for Gov. Wolf to address these workforce and training issues so that businesses wanting to expand and create jobs can do so, or it will hurt state economic growth.”

Ryo Tashiro, an advisor to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Board, explained the state is at full employment with more job openings than there are people seeking work. He explained, that while the first reason business owners gave in the Fed’s survey was the availability of qualified job candidates, the second reason given was the inability of applicants to pass a drug test.

The data presented by Tashiro also showed that the number of taxpayers leaving Pennsylvania has grown higher than the number of people moving to the state for a number of years. Those leaving are older and wealthier than those arriving. Pennsylvania lost 2.7 billion in adjusted gross income in the most recent year’s data.

“Many people leave states when it’s cheaper to live or retire elsewhere,” added Denlinger. “It’s important to keep Pennsylvania’s economy growing, keep state spending and debt levels in check, and not to add any taxes or fees. Having one of the most onerous death taxes in the nation may have contributed to this outmigration trend of older, wealthier people.”

Beyond workforce and outward migration concerns, small business owners are also troubled by Governor Wolf’s recent announcement that he supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“A $15 minimum wage is a jobs killer that hits small businesses the hardest,” said Denlinger. “And the worst part is that policy will ironically hurt entry-level and unskilled employees who are likely to lose hours or jobs when the business owner is forced to cut back due to higher labor costs.”

For more information contact:
Gordon Denlinger
State Director of NFIB in Pennsylvania
[email protected]
717-232-8582 x4 or 717-587-5660