PA CHAMBER, US CHAMBER: INFLATION REDUCTION ACT IS A BAD DEAL
With businesses facing historic inflation, the PA Chamber, US Chamber and business leaders across the country are sending the message that now is not the time to raise taxes on businesses – especially through changes to the federal tax code that would disproportionately impact manufacturers and capital-intensive industries, like energy production and utilities. The PA Chamber is also concerned proposed tax increases contemplated in a deal struck between West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will detract from the monumental progress Pennsylvania is making with recently enacted, pro-growth reforms to the state’s tax code.
The U.S. Senate passed the sprawling economic package by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. The U.S. House is expected to begin consideration of the legislation Friday, August 12th.
In an op-ed published last week, the PA Chamber’s Kevin Sunday notes the “proposal, which appears to be designed to game the Senate’s reconciliation process to pass spending bills, departs from recent congressional successes that leveraged bipartisan compromise to produce meaningful progress on energy and regulatory reform. The bill will also raise taxes on businesses already reeling from historically high costs on goods and materials, and vague promises that the bill will be followed by permit reform later this winter (when the Senate’s legislative agenda is already overcrowded) raise the question: Why not just work across the aisle now, given how many Republicans have energy and regulatory reform priorities of their own?”
The PA Chamber also joined dozens of state and local chambers across the country in signing a coalition letter spearheaded by the US Chamber opposing the proposed tax increases. In the letter, the business groups note that the bill “includes taxes that would discourage investment and undermine economic growth and price controls that would limit American innovation. Despite the name of the bill, independent analysis confirms that it would have little to no impact on inflation and may in fact increase inflationary pressure in the near-term.”
Tax increases in the proposed deal include a 15 percent minimum book tax, a $900 per ton fee on fugitive methane emissions for oil and gas producers, an additional tax on the energy industry that could raise gasoline costs sixteen cents per gallon, changes to the treatment of carried interest and price controls on pharmaceuticals. The Tax Foundation has compiled additional analysis of the proposed tax changes here, noting the tax increases will result in job losses and a reduction in GDP and wages. The analysis notes that “by reducing long-run economic growth, this bill may actually worsen inflation by constraining the productive capacity of the economy.” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona indicated Friday, ahead of a potential weekend vote, she was seeking changes to some of the tax provisions, including protecting some depreciation deductions against minimum book tax liabilities.
Member News – August 3, 2022
Danville Business Alliance Receives National Accreditation
The Danville Business Alliance is one of 25 Pennsylvania downtowns that have been named “Nationally Accredited Programs” by the National Main Street Center (NMSC) for 2022. Receiving National Accreditation Main Street Program status is a prominent recognition and shows that these programs are dedicated to creating change in their community and leading as an example for other programs in the revitalization process.
Accredited Main Street programs are evaluated annually by Pennsylvania Downtown Center as the state’s coordinating program. All accredited programs have met the ten performance standards required by NMSC including training, planning methods, and community involvement.
Support Programs for Disabled Family Members
Hand in Hand Family Resource Center is offering several free programs to support family members of area disabled. A sibling support group meets the second and fourth Sundays of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Teen Center in Berwick. A five-week series to help parents understand their child's Individualized Education Plan begins August 18th. The agency is also hosting a potluck picnic on August 28th beginning at 2 p.m. at West Side Grove in Berwick. Visit handinhandpa.org for additional details on all of these programs.
Geisinger Hosting Recruitment Day
Geisinger is hosting a recruitment day for a variety of positions with hiring incentives on Thursday, August 4th from noon to 6 p.m. at its Berwick location, 2200 West Front Street. Click here for additional details.
Exchange Gallery Hosting "Creatures & Critters"
The animal kingdom is extremely diverse and contains millions of different species.
Some animals are our friends and companions.
Others are elusive and mysterious.
Some inspire fear
Many inspire wonder.
We asked people which animals inspire them, and 35 artists from seven Pennsylvania counties answered the call. Their work includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, fiber art, and various mixed media, and the artists range from elementary-, middle-, and high-school students to those with many decades of experience.
The show runs through August 26th; find the Gallery hours here.
Promote Fall Events/Offers in September ChamberPack
Fall is a very busy time in our area with festivals and other events. Increase the awareness of your promotions, offers, or regular business services in the next ChamberPack mailing. ChamberPack is a cost-effective way to get your information to the Chamber's 400+ members. Just provide copies, and we'll take care of compiling and sending the mailing. The next ChamberPack will be mailed just before the Labor Day holiday, and fliers are due at the Chamber by August 20th.
Call the Chamber at 570-784-2522 to reserve your space or click here for more information.
Congressman Meuser to Discuss Business Issues with Members
Chamber members will have the opportunity to discuss business-related issues with US Representative Dan Meuser (PA-9) at an upcoming breakfast meeting. The program will be held Thursday, August 25th from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Craft Catering at The Links Golf Course in Buckhorn. The event is sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities.
Meuser will address a variety of topics impacting employers, including inflation. Recently, the Congressman distributed a survey seeking input on the impact of inflation on local businesses. There will also be time for questions from members in attendance.
The program includes a buffet breakfast. Click here to register by Friday, August 19th.
1 Million Cups Empowers Entrepreneurs in the Susquehanna Valley
By Kendy Alvarez
It’s a common invitation that often leads to the exchange of ideas, discussion of possibilities, and the discovery of solutions.
The 1 Million Cups (1MC) Susquehanna Valley community expands that concept to a larger scale by providing entrepreneurs with a monthly platform to present their businesses and receive immediate feedback and advice from industry experts, startup enthusiasts, and fellow business owners.
At each event, two entrepreneurs share the stories of their early-stage ventures: each after connecting with a speaker coach who helps them prepare. All of this happens, of course, over cups of coffee provided by local community sponsors and host organizations. The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce is a new co-sponsor of 1 Million Cups Susquehanna Valley.
"The vibrancy and positive energy of 1 Million Cups events create an environment where all ideas and individuals are welcomed; and are given invaluable feedback from entrepreneurs and community leaders”, said Diane Weller, owner of Diane Weller Coaching.
One Million Cups Susquehanna Valley recently marked four years of empowering the entrepreneurs of the valley, and even more recently relaunched in-person sessions. Events are scheduled at locations across four counties through the rest of the year:
● August 10 at Startup Lewisburg, 416 Market Street, Lewisburg, PA 17837
● September 14 at the Central PA Chamber of Commerce, 30 Lawton Ln, Milton, PA 17847
● October 12 at STEAM Innovation Labs, 361 Market St, Sunbury, PA 17801
● November 9 at Susquehanna University, 514 University Ave, Selinsgrove, PA 17870
● December 14 at the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2859 N Susquehanna Trail, Shamokin Dam, PA 17876
During each event, entrepreneurs have six minutes to present their early-stage company or pre-venture concept to other entrepreneurs and community members. Following each presentation, the audience asks questions, provides helpful feedback, and shares similar experiences or support. Entrepreneurs are invited to visit www.1millioncups.com/Susquehanna to apply to present at an upcoming event.
Committed to breaking down barriers so all entrepreneurs can access the resources they need, 1 Million Cups welcomes anyone with a desire to grow a business or has an interest in supporting fellow entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups is not a pitch platform, nor is it solely a networking event. It’s a chance for entrepreneurs to tap into the knowledge and experience of the local community in a focused and encouraging environment.
1 Million Cups is a program of the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, and the Susquehanna Valley community is one of almost two hundred 1MC communities across the country. For more information, visit www.1millioncups.com/susquehanna.
State Budget Includes Repayment to WC Fund, Avoiding Employer Cost Increases
From the PA Chamber of Business & Industry
The 2022-2023 state budget, enacted last month, allocated $350 million to pay off outstanding loans from Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Security Fund, staving off the potential for additional tax increases on employers. The Fund is financed by the business community and administered by the state Insurance Department. It is used to pay workers compensation medical and wage-loss benefits in the event an insurance carrier becomes insolvent.
The Fund has had a generally healthy balance sheet in recent years, which has prompted the General Assembly on multiple occasions to authorize loans from the Fund to help balance the state budget – specifically $165 million in 2017 and $185 million in 2020. An additional $145 million was transferred from the Fund last year for a grant program to support businesses in the hospitality industry impacted by the pandemic.
The concern for employers is that automatic assessments are triggered on the broader business community if the fund dips below a certain threshold. Accordingly, the PA Chamber has urged the repayment of these loans, pushed back on efforts to convert loans into straight transfers and successfully worked with the legislature to use federal stimulus funds to reimburse the $145 million used for pandemic grants.
With the recent transfer of $350 million the Fund has now been made whole and the PA Chamber applauds lawmakers for helping employers avoid potential cost increases.
Member News – July 27, 2022
Knoebels Featured in Documentary
Don’t miss the opportunity to stream WVIA’s Knoebels documentary, which follows the evolution from a family farm to the beloved, family-owned amusement park.
United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties Merging with Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way
The boards of directors for the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way (GSVUW) and the United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties (UWCMC) have voted unanimously to approve the merger of the two agencies. The merger, effective September 1, follows extended discussions between both boards that began in July of last year.
Several key members from each of the Executive Boards carried their terms over through this transition. Multiple joint committees were formed and strategic planning meetings were held to discuss the pros and cons of the merger.
Click here for details about the merger.
The Exchange’s Listening Room Presents The Bennett Matteo Band
Bennett Matteo Band (BMB) is a collective of brilliant musicians led by guitarist and writer Gino Matteo and vocal powerhouse Jade Bennett. Extremely improvisational while having their feet planted in Roots music, BMB is a breath of fresh air to the music world. BMB's experimentation and refusal to take themselves seriously has made every show an experience.
BMB will perform at The Exchange's listening room Wednesday, July 27th beginning at 7 p.m. If you would like to attend in person at 24 East Main Street in Bloomsburg, limited seats are available. Call 570-317-2596 or e-mail Exchange@ExchangeArts.org to reserve yours -- walk-ins are allowed if they have the room. Donations are accepted at the door, BYOB permitted. Vaccinated guests only, and masks are required.
Bloomsburg YMCA to Host Kids Sneaker Drive
- August 1-12 (during any YMCA open hours)
- Monday, Aug. 15 (5-8 p.m.)
- Wednesday, Aug. 17 (5-8 p.m.)
- Friday, Aug. 19 (5-7 p.m.)
Join the Bloomsburg YMCA in helping to distribute new or gently-used sneakers. A drop-off box will be located at the YMCA. Donated sneakers will be provided for free during the above giveaway dates for any child in the community in need.
Join McKonly and Asbury and Fulton Bank for Free Joint Presentation/Mini-Conference
This FREE event will be held at The Barn at Boone's Dam on September 15th at 8:30 a.m. Participants need to register prior to the event. For more information on registration, click here.
Presentation 1: Cash is STILL King!!! Cash flow matters and the impact on business valuation. Presented by David Blain, CPA, CVA – Partner and Eric Blocher, CPA, CVA, ASA – Principal , McKonly and Asbury LLP
Presentation 2: Not all Debt is bad. How to use financing sources to grow your business to improve financial results. Presented by Leslie Temple, Senior Vice President and Market Leader/Business Development, Fulton Bank
Presentation 3: Business Roundtable – Open discussion on the current state of the economy, market, business trends and overall matters of relevance to business owners. The panel includes: Brian Paulhamus – Vice President of Lending, Fulton Bank; Mike Hoffner, CPA – Managing Partner, McKonly and Asbury, LLP; Brian Crane – Partner, Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane; Fred Gaffney – President, Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce.
State Websites Promote Small Business eCommerce
It’s no secret that today, consumers are doing more and more of their shopping online. In fact, from April to June 2021, eCommerce sales in the US surpassed $222B – and the trend toward online shopping continues to grow. Because of this trend, it’s more important than ever for small mom-and-pop retailers to ensure they are selling their goods online.
Somewhat paradoxically, even with the growing number of people shopping online, consumer attitudes and sentiments are also shifting toward shopping local as much as possible. Consumers realize that shopping local supports the community and the local economy – studies show that every $100 spent at a local business, $48 goes back into the local economy, as opposed to just $14 going back into the local economy if the money was spent at a big box store. But the fundamental challenge is that consumers often find it difficult to shop local while shopping online because it can be hard to locate those businesses near them that offer online sales.
The PA Business One-Stop Shop, an office within the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, is solving that challenge through a new initiative called CommonGoods. CommonGoods, found at commongoods.pa.gov, is a new website that offers big benefits for PA small business retailers. CommonGoods is an online directory of small retailers with a physical location in Pennsylvania that sell products through eCommerce. It gives shoppers an easy way to buy local while buying online – making it simple for customers to tap into the “buy local” movement right from their phone or computer.
For small retailers in Pennsylvania, CommonGoods increases their visibility to this key demographic of shoppers who want to support their local small businesses online. To show up in the CommonGoods directory, businesses can register for a free listing at commongoods.pa.gov. The listing will provide information about the business as well as link to the business’s eCommerce sites such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and others. Shoppers accessing the CommonGoods directory can search for Pennsylvania small business retailers by product type, location, and even by diversity of ownership.
Not online yet? The PA Business One-Stop Shop can help. If you don’t have an online store but are interested in starting one, turn to the One-Stop Shop. This state office provides connections to e-commerce resources, counseling, training, and more at business.pa.gov.
CommonGoods is a great way for small business retailers to increase their visibility to those shoppers who want to support their community by shopping online. Check it out at commongoods.pa.gov.
Education Seeking to Connect With Businesses
Launched in November 2018, the Future Ready PA Index is a collection of school progress measures related to school and student success. The index is the result of discussions with thousands of educators, parents, advocates, policymakers, and business leaders across Pennsylvania about how communities should evaluate schools. This method of evaluation has moved schools and students beyond just standardized test scores.
Schools are now rated on a summative score to increase transparency around school and group performance. This approach requires student experiences to learn about careers throughout their K-12 education. During these foundational years, students need to learn to explore, acquire, and advance in careers, as well as have experiences in entrepreneurship. As we say at The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, they need to hear about it (elementary), see it (middle school) and do it (high school).
For schools to succeed in these endeavors, they need to engage with the business community. There are a variety of ways for businesses can help. Be a guest presenter. Host student tours. Be a co-op location for students to get on-the-job experience. Host teachers for summer experiences. If your business is interested in connecting with students, complete a short survey here or scan the QR code.
Inflationary Impacts on Small Business
Inflation is having a devastating effect on American families and small businesses. As your Representative and a member of the House Small Business Committee, Congressman Dan Meuser is interested in hearing from small business owners and taking their concerns to Washington D.C.
Click here to share the impact inflation has had on your business.