Why Corporate Welfare Doesn’t Work
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Why Corporate Welfare Doesn’t Work

Amazon this week revealed that New York City and Northern Virginia have been selected as the new co-locations for its highly sought after HQ-2. With that news, the governor (of Pennsylvania) reported that his office had promised Amazon economic incentives totaling $4.6 billion, some of that in tax abatements. Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh had been listed among the top 20 finalists under consideration. In making its announcement, Amazon acknowledged that infrastructure and employee base had much more to do with its selection than did government-backed financial incentives.

In past Roundups, I have argued for the curtailment of welfare programs which trap families in a cycle of dependence. Despite record spending, some programs appear to net worse results. I am not opposed to spending public money to assist the less advantaged, but I am opposed to costly programs which do not appear to work.

Spending taxpayer money to help the poor is, at least, related to a laudable objective. But spending the taxes which you pay to assist wealthy companies like Amazon is entirely wrongheaded. To begin with, Amazon does not need our money in order to be successful. Secondly, using public money to “buy” new business is a slap in the face to existing businesses, which are unable to take advantage of some of the offered incentives. Unquestionably, the government has a responsibility to lay the groundwork for the solid infrastructure upon which fluid commerce depends, but outright financial incentives to wealthy businesses are bad public policy.

Most poignant of all are tax incentives offered by the state in order to lure business. What clearer indication do you need that your state’s tax structure is a barrier to business than the acknowledgement that you have to give businesses relief from your own taxes in order to convince them to move to your state? At an effective corporate net income tax rate of 10 percent, the highest in the nation, Pennsylvania should think long and hard about what contributed to losing Amazon’s new headquarters and the impact that our rusty business taxes had on that decision.
Happy Thanksgiving!

For nearly four centuries, Americans have come together in the spirit of thanksgiving. From the earliest traditions that began in Plymouth, Mass., to the first official national observance in 1863, families have gathered in November to celebrate bountiful harvests and all that has been given to them. From my family to yours, may you all have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, state offices will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 22, and my offices will also be closed on Friday, Nov. 23.

PennDOT Driver License Centers will also be closed Thursday and Friday. If you are traveling, be sure to check www.511pa.com for the latest traffic and weather information.
Hunters Can Share Their Harvest

To help families, individuals and seniors who are in need, the Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program has encouraged hunters from across the Commonwealth to share their deer harvest and provide thousands of pounds of venison.

Hunters can donate all or part of a harvested deer by taking it to a participating processor, which will then distribute the ground venison to food banks and pantries. Since 1991, HSH has distributed more than 1.2 million pounds of donated venison. Learn more here.
Supporting Small Businesses

With small businesses as the economic engines of our communities, Pennsylvania consumers are encouraged to shop small on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24.

There are nearly 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania, which employ nearly half of the state’s workforce. Small firms make up 98.2 percent of the state’s employers.

Over the last legislative session, the House Republican Caucus has worked to enhance opportunities for small businesses and job creators in Pennsylvania by modernizing business laws, seeking to reduce burdensome and duplicative regulations, and fighting off harmful and unnecessary tax increases.

One of those measures, which is designed to help budding entrepreneurs, is the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop. This website, which was based upon legislation initiated in the House, seeks to assist entrepreneurs and businesses at all stages of development. It was launched earlier in 2018.
House Majority Elects Leaders for New Term

With a strong majority going into the 2019-20 legislative session, the 110 members of the House Republican Caucus – including 19 freshmen – elected their leadership team to begin Jan. 1. This is just the second time since 1924 that Republicans have maintained control of the House for more than four terms in a row.

Rep. Mike Turzai of Allegheny County has again been nominated to serve as speaker of the House. New to their respective leadership positions are House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County, Majority Whip Kerry Benninghoff of Centre County, Majority Policy Committee Chairman Donna Oberlander of Clarion County and Majority Caucus Secretary Michael Reese of Westmoreland County.

Retaining their respective leadership positions are Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor of York County, Caucus Chairman Marcy Toepel of Montgomery County and Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser of Columbia County.

Republicans hold a 110-93 majority in the state House, but two vacancies will exist on swearing-in day.

 2019-20 House Republican Caucus Leadership Team (from left to right): Saylor, Oberlander, Turzai, Cutler, Masser, Benninghoff, Reese and Toepel.
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