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2009 - 2010 State Budget
June 18, 2009

As has been well covered in the news, our state legislators have a very difficult task ahead of them as they consider the 2009-2010 state budget.

On the one hand, there is unprecedented need across our state; everywhere you turn a group is making the case for why their programs or constituencies should be funded. And, many of the arguments are compelling.

On the other hand, there are no easy sources of new money to keep funding programs at the pace to which we have become used to. In fact, there are no easy sources of money to simply maintain the funding for programs that we have become used to.

At the end of the day, the dilemma boils down to a fairly clear challenge: raise taxes to meet the requested needs or cut programs and adjust priorities to meet the expected revenue.

As you might expect, this challenge is cause for much angst among our local delegation, as I fully believe they are all committed to making the decision that is in the best long-term interest of their constituents.

While it may be politically easy to say, “No more taxes,” it becomes far more complicated when saying “no” to taxes may mean “no” to funding education, workforce training, tourism promotion, agriculture incentives, human service needs and a host of other funding programs that have long benefited the Lancaster County economy and residents.

However, you simply can’t ignore the fact that most economists would tell you that the last thing you want to do during recessionary times would be to raise taxes. Now, they say, is a time to live within your means.

Further, you can add the voice of The Lancaster Chamber to this debate as we continue to promote our annual advocacy to phase-out of the Capital Stock & Franchise tax, to cut the Corporate Net Income Tax, and to discourage any action that would add to the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania.

Yet, tough as these decisions are, this year also presents an opportunity to send a clear, positive and future-focused message to the rest of the country-- To demonstrate that Pennsylvania is serious about our economic growth, committed to creating a more positive business climate, and values the long-term potential of business growth and job creation.

In other words, we have the opportunity to send a loud message that when times are tough, Pennsylvania doesn’t look to business only as a source of tax revenue, but rather as a source of future potential for new jobs, innovation and a prosperous future for us all.

We encourage our local legislators to embrace the long-term approach when weighing their options regarding this year’s budget vote.

It is often during times of challenge that we have our greatest chance to make a significant impact on our future. Simply put, it forces priorities. This year’s state budget is one of those times.

Until next time, stay informed, stay engaged and stay with us At the Center.

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