Aug. 02, 2022

Editorial from Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, Rep. Wendi Thomas, and Rep. Aaron Kaufer

In January of 2021, we stood in Pennsylvania’s Capitol to announce the formation of an Economic Recovery Task Force that would inform the Commonwealth’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Pennsylvania of nearly 20 months ago was very different—we were all masked, socially distant, and yet to have access to today’s vaccines and treatments—we knew that we would need a serious effort to correct our economic trajectory and meet the challenges ahead of us.

We knew then we needed to start the work of marshalling Pennsylvania’s legislative resources to develop an economic recovery and growth agenda that will lead Pennsylvania out of the pandemic and into a better future.

Fast forward to July of 2022, and while the nation slipped into a recession with two quarters of negative growth, we have positive news to report closer to home.

Pennsylvania was just ranked among America’s Top States for Business in 2022 by CNBC. The state jumped from 23rd place overall to 17th.

This is clear evidence Pennsylvania is strongly rebounding from the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is due in large part to the recommendations of the House Economic Recovery Task Force formed last year to find ways to fuel our recovery after the economic downturn.

Consider the greatest improvement over CNBC’s 2021 rankings: Pennsylvania moved from 14th place to 7th in technology and innovation.

This confirms Pennsylvania is a leader in STEM research and medicine and shows the way forward. Our job is to continue bringing the brightest minds to the state through economic incentives and the lure of a first-class workforce.

Among the other improvements cited: Pennsylvania rose from 28th place to 22nd in the cost of doing business category.

This is why it was so important to include a reduction in the state’s Corporate Net Income Tax in the budget. The more we can lower the costs of operating businesses in the Commonwealth, the greater the job growth.

Our task force laid the groundwork for this recovery. It endorsed removing the disincentives the pandemic caused for state businesses, especially those in the service industry, and developed solutions that allowed our businesses to flourish and hire more employees.

We worked to get government out of the way and continue with significant, and really unprecedented, regulatory reform and relief efforts while amending our constitution to give certainty to Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania businesses that they cannot be unilaterally shuttered indefinitely.

We have also worked collectively as a caucus to provide tax relief and simplification for small businesses, help struggling families, and provide resources to our family farms and mom and pop businesses.

Importantly, we reduced the temptation to engage in the inflationary policies coming out of Washington by keeping spending low, adding additional resources to our Rainy Day Fund, and keeping a surplus heading into the next fiscal year so we can continue to be well-positioned to face current economic headwinds without higher taxes or cuts to government services.

The report’s noted rise in Pennsylvania’s business outlook is confirmation that our policies are elevating our state’s economy at a time when the national economy is struggling.

As CNBC designed its study, it scored all 50 states on 88 metrics in 10 broad categories of competitiveness including infrastructure, in which Pennsylvania ranks 12th; business friendliness, in which the state moved from 39th to 26th place; access to capital, where Pennsylvania jumped from 12th to 9th place; and education, where the state maintained its rank of 5th in the nation.

While much work needs to be done, this report is proof Pennsylvania has rallied due to policies that welcome businesses and the jobs they create.

Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District

Representative Wendi Thomas
178th Legislative District

Representative Aaron Kaufer
120th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives