A taxing question for infrastructure
Commissioner Jim Hertzler’s recent op-ed correctly identified an important goal that should be shared by both parties in Washington, D.C.: investing in infrastructure. In an increasingly competitive global environment, investment decisions on where to build new offices and factories are being made based on the quality of the region’s roads, transit, telecommunications, water and airport infrastructure. We agree it is time to come together for a national, bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Unfortunately, the commissioner is ill-informed about matters on a state level — particularly the Wolf administration’s “RestorePA” initiative which would float a $4.5 billion bond in order to spend a few billion dollars in pork barrel projects now, paid back over decades by higher energy taxes on businesses and consumers. As several other county commissioners have recently commented to the press, this would be paid for on the back of the natural gas industry which already pays one of the highest corporate rates in the nation (Texas has no such tax) and also an impact fee (which Texas also lacks). The impact fee has delivered nearly $1.7 billion to date to counties across PA — including Cumberland County, where it has paid for conservation work, parks and farmland preservation.
If Texas is actually the beacon of ideal tax and regulatory policy, then Pennsylvania needs to make major improvements in its corporate and business tax laws, as well as instituting a better functioning permitting system for companies of all industries and improving the legal climate. These types of pro-growth policies will deliver the type of economic growth that will lead to as much as 100,000 new jobs and $3 billion in increased state revenues, according to the Forge the Future analysis.
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Infrastructure is a necessity to a 21st century economy that benefits everyone. It’s wrong to ask one industry to foot the bill.
Director of Government Affairs
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry