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State Budget Countdown - Use Your Voice
June 16, 2010

Hello. And welcome to At the Center.

Well, it’s June again and the annual countdown to passage of our state budget is in full swing. Sadly, over the last eight years the annual question we now ask ourselves is not “will they pass the budget on time?”….but rather, “I wonder how late they will pass the budget this year?”

Last year’s marathon gap in budget passage clearly demonstrated why timely passage of the budget it important.

Social services were left without reimbursement; school districts could not adequately plan for what they might –or might not—get from the state; and businesses were left in the dark on what their tax rates might be.

Further, for those businesses that pay the capital stock and franchise tax –arguably one of the most regressive taxes in the nation!—the delay found them being told in October that they had been underpaying since January. Causing them to shell out more at a time of economic recession and regardless of any profit they may or may not have had throughout the year.

Frankly, the whole situation was an embarrassment and offered just one more challenge to doing business in Pennsylvania.

This year we have the added elements of it being an election year –few elected officials really look forward to addressing the tough issues during election years-- coupled with the need to face a looming pension crisis that is poised to add to future budget deficits unlike any we have ever seen.

But there is something you can do. And, I am pleased to say you can do it in a way that is in partnership with our local delegation.

Simply put, let them know what you think. Let them know what the impact of their deliberations will have on your business. Give them the real-life, bottom-line ammunition they need to fight the fight in Harrisburg. Our delegation does listen. But you need to provide the voice.

Check out our website at www.lancasterchamber.com for a complete listing of contact information our local delegation. And let them know what you think.

As we countdown the day until budget passage, now is the time to speak with clarity.

Rest assured, the Lancaster Chamber is weighing in on your behalf –and, to that end, we do celebrate the Governor’s decision to not tax professional services—but the more people who weigh in as the budget moves forward in the process, the louder the voice.

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

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