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Chamber President Testifies to House Committee on Pro-Business Tax Reform

Bloomsburg, PA - On Thursday, April 11, the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce hosted the PA House Republican Policy Committee for the first in a series of hearings on pro-business tax reform.  Chris Berleth, Chamber President, testified regarding the impact of the complex and burdensome tax code on the small businesses in the region.

After reiterating the litany of taxes paid directly and indirectly by businesses, Berleth testified, "The culmination of [this] tax burden makes it darn hard for a business to be successful in a rural area.  The biggest takeaway that I can implore is that most businesses have to hire professionals to manage the paying of all these taxes on their behalf.  If they attempt to manage all this on their own, there's no time left to run their businesses."  He further testified that radical proposals at both the federal and state levels are counterintuitive to relocation, expansion, and growth.  "Businesses are looking for predictability and consistency, with no surprises.  They want the ability to project and clarify upfront on what an investment project's tax commitments will be."

"Recently, Central PA has heard radical ideas that would drastically impact business costs as unpredictable parts of the state budget.  Ideas such as the tolling of bridges on Interstate 80, past proposals to tax drivers a per-mile fee in place of a gas tax, and massive increases to the minimum salary threshold for overtime compensation - these policy suggestions give our members pause, especially without the predictability of a slow-rollout and an on-time budget."

Berleth lauded programs like WedNET PA and the EITC, which allow businesses the ability to invest in their employees through reimbursable training or direct their tax-deductible contributions to programs benefiting students.  "Over the past three years alone, an estimated 20 businesses have directed EITC contributions of more than $215,000 to student programs in theater, entrepreneurship, career exploration, financial literacy and STEM.  We encourage the legislature to expand EITC credits, and make it easier for businesses to enroll in the program for the first time."

Read Chris's written testimony here.

To view the full hearing, including Chris's testimony and the Q&A session, watch below:

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