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Guest Commentary: Pennsylvania is Open for Business

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia business leaders make the case for working together to bring jobs and economic opportunities to the state

Guest Commentary: Pennsylvania is Open for Business

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia business leaders make the case for working together to bring jobs and economic opportunities to the state

Pennsylvania is open for business.

Throughout the past few months, this phrase has become a mantra for all who seek to grow Pennsylvania’s economy, create jobs, improve our workforce and put the Commonwealth on a fiscally sound path. Our vision includes a vibrant and inclusive economic future and quality of life for all Pennsylvanians — and to achieve this, we need to work together. A more economically competitive business environment will bring increased investment to the Commonwealth — and in turn, will promote job creation, family-sustaining wages, and opportunities to create stronger communities across the state.

Recognizing that partnership is key to future success. Our organizations have become statewide partners to announce a joint policy priority agenda that will help Pennsylvania become more competitive for business investment and talent attraction and retention. Operating in the two largest regional employment hubs in Pennsylvania, our chambers represent thousands of businesses, as well as several civic organizations, and we must work together to achieve statewide success.

From each side of the state, we recognize that there is a unique opportunity to move Pennsylvania forward — with a pro-growth governor and bipartisan recognition in the legislature of the need for enhanced policies and economic development investment, we stand at the precipice of the necessary policy updates to help the Commonwealth become more competitive.

Although Ohio has approximately 1.5 million fewer residents, they are outspending Pennsylvania by seven times the amount in economic incentives to encourage businesses to relocate and grow in their state.

Time and again, Governor Shapiro has noted the need for increased resources to compete with neighboring states, particularly in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where we see competition with states like Ohio firsthand. Although Ohio has approximately 1.5 million fewer residents, they are outspending Pennsylvania by seven times the amount in economic incentives to encourage businesses to relocate and grow in their state.

To increase Pennsylvania’s ability to compete, we are jointly focused on big-picture, strategic priorities like fostering a business-friendly tax and regulatory environment, building an education system that supports the development of a world-class workforce, planning safe and attractive communities and establishing ways for the government to run efficiently and at the speed of business. Our joint policy agenda includes the following items for the 2023 legislative session:

      • Accelerate the phasedown of the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax to 4.99 percent by 2026.
      • Gradually increase the net operating loss (NOL) carryover limit from the current 40 percent to 80 percent over a four-year phase-in period.
      • Support existing executive and legislative efforts to enact a more efficient, reliable and predictable permitting process.
      • Advance a statewide, multi-sector innovation strategy that will leverage the Commonwealth’s robust innovation assets.
      • Secure a comprehensive, long-term multimodal solution to Pennsylvania’s transportation funding needs.
      • Develop a statewide energy strategy that will leverage regional strengths and assets.

While focused on these priorities, we also believe it is equally important to undertake more tactical items that businesses need to locate, grow and thrive in the Commonwealth.

Tactics for economic development

Working with Pennsylvania’s key policymakers, we seek to invest in the necessary site preparation to attract large-scale industrial and manufacturing projects, ensure permitting predictability, enhance workforce development, and develop other assets that enable companies — both those that exist in the state as well as businesses exploring relocating to the state — to meet their needs for operational schedules and future success. Not only is it imperative that we work together to create a sound business-friendly environment, but we also need to work hand-in-hand with the Department of Community & Economic Development to ensure that the tools in their toolbox help Pennsylvania to attract, retain and expand business in our state.

We recognize and appreciate the unprecedented level of alignment across the state — transcending parties and levels of government — signaling that it is a new day in the Commonwealth. Together, we believe it is possible to realize a vital, globally competitive Pennsylvania where all people thrive. We look forward to continued partnership with the new administration and bipartisan legislature to achieve this vision for our future.

Matt Smith is Chief Growth Officer, Allegheny Conference on Community Development; Chellie Cameron is President/CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

The Citizen welcomes guest commentary from community members who represent that it is their own work and their own opinion based on true facts that they know firsthand.


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