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Local Businesses Discuss Wolf’s Budget Proposal, Government Regulations and Business Climate with State Representatives
LOWER MACUNGIE – As part of a statewide House Majority Policy Committee business and jobs tour, Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks/Lehigh), deputy chairman for the committee, co-hosted a hearing in Lower Macungie on Tuesday to discuss challenges facing Pennsylvania’s economy and business climate.

Local employers, as well as statewide business associations, were invited by the committee to provide testimony on state taxes and regulations, how to improve the state’s business climate, the preparedness of Pennsylvania graduates to fill in-demand jobs and how to attract new business to the area.

“Hearings like the one held yesterday allow us, as legislators, to hear directly from members of the business community on both what is going well for employers in Pennsylvania, and also the challenges they face,” Mackenzie said. “We are always looking for feedback on how to improve the state’s business climate, improve our tax structure and strengthen our education system so that businesses can create and expand jobs, grow and thrive.”

Testifiers included representatives from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, National Federation of Independent Business of Pennsylvania (NFIB) and Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, as well as local employers Smooth-On Inc., Mack Truck Inc., Kay Builders, and Buckeye Tavern on Brookside.

Several testifiers expressed concerns regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal, which includes a 16 percent increase in state government spending and $4.7 billion in new taxes and spending; excessive government regulations and mandates on small businesses; and the rising cost of doing business.

“A 16 percent increase in spending, when the private sector is growing around 2 percent, is a very unhealthy growth, it is not sustainable, and it will absolutely crush taxpayers in this state,” said Neal Lesher, NFIB’s legislative director.

Reps. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) and Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Schuylkill) were also among the House members participating in the hearing, which was held at the Lower Macungie Community Center.

“I’d like to thank Rep. Mackenzie and the Policy Committee for holding this important hearing in the Lehigh Valley, where 52 percent of Carbon County residents work,” Heffley said. “The business leaders at yesterday’s hearing expressed major concerns with the massive tax increases in the governor’s proposal. It’s important to listen to individuals who are creating family-sustaining jobs throughout our region as we work to foster an environment in which businesses can grow and create jobs.”

WATCH: Full-length video of Tuesday’s hearing.

“I appreciate the House Policy Committee and Rep. Mackenzie coordinating this hearing yesterday,” said Knowles. “I joined several of the testifiers and business leaders in expressing concern about our governor’s budget proposal, which includes $4.7 billion in new taxes. Policies like this raise the cost of doing business across the Commonwealth.”

Tuesday’s hearing was part four of a nine-part series across the state. Testimony received on this statewide tour will be taken back to the Legislature as a whole to be considered when the House of Representatives is making future fiscal and regulatory policy decisions.

The House Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) works with the other committees in the state House to advance policies that benefit the people of Pennsylvania. Through hearings, meetings and discussions with Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth, the House Majority Policy Committee conducts research and generates policy proposals aimed at improving the quality of life in the keystone state.

Representative Ryan Mackenzie
134th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Ryan Travis, 717.260.6335 /
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