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2016 Pro-Business Agenda

A primary function of The Lancaster Chamber is to advocate on behalf of the business community. In 2016, we will advance an agenda that seeks to improve the County’s business climate and competitiveness in key strategic areas.

PRIORITY ISSUES (Tax, Infrastructure, Workforce):

  1. Comprehensive tax reform, specifically addressing pension reform.
  2. Engage the business community in the County's Comprehensive Plan update, ensuring the business voice is heard in terms of land planning, transportation, housing and other important planning issues.
  3. Support the development of a qualified workforce to ensure employers have the talent they needto stay competitive.

AREAS OF INTEREST:

Business Climate: In order to drive investment, innovation, job growth and expansion, The Chamber seeks to strengthen our community’s long-term competitiveness by focusing on our strategic advantages. The Chamber will focus on providing access to ideas, opportunities and solutions that grow innovation, foster entrepreneurship, boost small and midsize business growth and create more partnerships with educational entities.

  • Build Pennsylvania’s Reputation as a State to do Business – Support legislative measures that would positively impact our business climate and strengthen our ability to create, attract, retain and expand jobs.
  • State Budget – Encourage responsible stewardship of state finances and a structurally sound, on-time state budget without placing undue tax burdens on the business community or reducing the effectiveness of essential state programs.
  • State Tax Competitiveness – Support the PA Chamber’s efforts toward development of a tax structure that provides certainty, transparency and incentive for businesses to grow; inclusive of reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax to a competitive rate.
  • Property Tax Reform – Evaluate, and if appropriate, support efforts aimed at comprehensive property tax reform that are in the best interest of citizens and businesses.
  • State Employee, School District and Municipal Pension Reform – Support reforms to the unsustainable state employee, school district and municipal pension systems in order to reduce cost-drivers for school districts and municipalities while making them competitive with the private sector.

Local Priorities: Community groups across the County are collaborating on issues that could i nfluence Lancaster County’s ability to be recognized as a model of prosperity. The Chamber will strive to work with our partners to advance these issues and ensure the business perspective is a part of the discussions.

  • Planning for the Future – Engage with the Lancaster County Planning Commission to ensure the business voice is included in the development of places2040, a comprehensive plan and vision for Lancaster County.
  • Transportation Priorities – Prioritize and mobilize the community to continue advocating for the County’s top priority infrastructure projects and projects for the Long Range Transportation Plan. Support alternative sources of funding for transportation infrastructure to ensure continued investment in the statewide system.
  • Housing Availability and Affordability – Support expanding the availability of housing options to the Lancaster County workforce and continue to work with the Coalition for Sustainable Housing to determine solutions to increase housing affordability.
  • Chesapeake Bay Mandates – Advocate on behalf of business as the Chesapeake Bay program advances, in conjunction with the Economic Development Company, Agriculture Council and Conservation District, and make businesses aware of the impacts at a local level.
  • Elected Office Information – Provide the community with an opportunity to hear from candidates in contested races on their views related to business issues. In addition, encourage local business and community leaders to consider candidacy for public office.

Talent: A highly-educated and skilled workforce is essential to attracting and retaining quality jobs in Lancaster County. As the workforce evolves, it is more important than ever to improve the alignment between employee skills and the jobs our employers need to fill.

  • Collaborate with Education – Develop a prepared, productive and skilled workforce by maximizing the opportunities for business and education to collaborate on curriculum development and achieving student outcome goals. Provide teachers and school leaders with opportunities to better connect with the business community and provide connections to real-work place experiences.
  • Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Reform Education for the Future – Advance mandate reforms that would allow education systems to consider the economic realities of today, promoting budgetary decisions that are in the best interest of the students and providing consistency, stability and predictability funding to educational institutions.
  • Train for the Needed Skills – Evaluate proposals related to the potential reorganization of the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board and advocate for the needs of employers to have a productive workforce.
  • Workplace Diversity and Inclusion – Support and leverage a diverse workforce and inclusive business practices as a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining talent for Lancaster County businesses and growing our local economy.

Regulation: Only regulations that are absolutely necessary should be considered, and when developed, they must be done in a way that is fair, takes into account the views of businesses and evaluates the impacts on jobs and businesses. The Chamber will strive to help businesses respond to, navigate or implement new regulations effectively.

  • Monitor and Respond – Work with legislators and regulatory bodies to share business perspective as regulatory matters are considered or respond to legislation and regulatory mandates on businesses, local government and education.
  • Navigate – Help members navigate the various regulations that effect business, inclusive of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Chesapeake Bay mandates, labor and wage regulations, and others. In addition, as issues arise for specific industries or businesses, we will help facilitate or alleviate the effects of regulation on business.

Sustainable Communities: Municipal government’s financial health and their ability to manage infrastructure, public safety and other services is critical to counties, regions and the Commonwealth’s success. We will promote municipal financial health and support legislation that will provide municipalities with the tools they need to become sustainable and successful.

  • Coalition for Sustainable Communities – Continue to partner with the Coalition for Sustainable Communities
  • Act 111 – Support amending Act 111, the Policemen and Firemen Collective Bargaining Act, with reasonable and commonsense reforms while retaining the right to binding arbitration on a more balanced playing field.
  • "Cash Balance" Pension Plan – Support legislation that would shift new municipal employees into a cashbalance pension plan – a hybrid style retirement plan combining aspect of defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

With these priorities in place, it is also The Chamber’s intent to continue to lead, advocate, monitor and inform members on the various issues affecting them day-to-day and continue to advance principles we hold.