Despite what Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President Gene Barr suggested in a recent op-ed (CDT, Aug. 1), Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal is good for businesses and taxpayers, and actually moves Pennsylvania forward.
The budget that Republicans presented — and the chamber supported — used the same losing formula of short-term revenue shifts and gimmicks that led Pennsylvania to five successive credit downgrades.
The chamber’s opposition to Wolf’s plan is unsurprising, given the influence of large corporations that spend millions on lobbying. Rather than helping Fortune 500 firms avoid paying taxes in Pennsylvania, we should help businesses that are committed to our state, pay their taxes and drive our economy.
Pennsylvania businesses would do well under the governor’s proposal, and here’s why.
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Wolf’s budget provides critical access to capital for small businesses by infusing $100 million into the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority. He is trying to jumpstart the state’s economy with manufacturing jobs, workforce partnerships, and education and job training. He also proposes a $5 million tax credit for manufacturers that create good-paying, middle-class jobs in our state.
In addition, Wolf wants to finally end the bothersome capital stock and franchise tax. Even though the state would lose some revenue, he knows it would let more firms create and maintain family-sustaining jobs, making the state even more competitive.
Furthermore, the governor’s budget would cut the corporate net income tax from 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent within three years. This would take us from having one of the highest business taxes in the nation to one of the lowest.
In order to lower that tax rate, Wolf calls for closing the unfair loopholes that allow the wealthiest corporations to avoid paying any income tax to our state. This is something the chamber opposes because its largest members would much rather pay zero corporate income tax to Pennsylvania than the governor’s rate of 4.99 percent. I believe all corporations doing business in our state should pay their fair share.
Wolf’s budget called for a $400 million increase in total education spending, an investment worth every dollar because this will give our businesses the workforce needed to be competitive.
The governor is a smart businessman and his budget ideas make sense. His proposal can help set the table for robust private sector growth while creating and retaining good jobs that will strengthen the middle class. That’s what Pennsylvanians asked for when they voted for Wolf, and if his proposal passes that’s what they will receive.