FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Greg Moreland, State Director, Mobile: (717) 215-5036 [email protected]
(HARRISBURG, PA) Feb. 8, 2022 – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Pennsylvania has issued the following statement in response to Governor Wolf’s 2022-23 Budget Address:
Governor Wolf’s budget address was disappointing and frustrating for the small business community. While the Commonwealth currently possesses billions of dollars in reserves, Governor Wolf is proposing dramatic increases in state spending by $6.2 billion, or 16.6 percent over the prior year.
Instead of asking small businesses and individuals to pay more in taxes and fees to support a massive escalation in spending, government needs to focus its energy on revitalizing Main Street and fostering sustained economic growth.
While pleased to see Governor Wolf is seeking to reduce the state tax burden on some Pennsylvania employers through a decrease in the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax, this reform is geared to benefit large multi-national corporations but will provide little relief for the Main Street businesses that employ half the state’s workforce and generate homegrown job creation. These Main Street businesses were the same entities Governor Wolf forced to shutter in 2020 and are now facing the possibility of significantly higher unemployment insurance rate increases to stabilize Pennsylvania’s depleted Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. Common sense and responsibility should dictate that Pennsylvania use some it’s remaining billions of federal pandemic relief dollars to mitigate or prevent higher unemployment compensation costs, but Governor Wolf failed to even acknowledge this massive challenge, let alone provide any solutions.
Lastly, Governor Wolf again called for increasing the minimum wage to an eventual $15/hour. The median wage in Pennsylvania increased from $16.50 in 2020 to $17.00 in 2021. The market continues to move wages far beyond $7.25/hour, demonstrating little need for new government wage mandates.
Yesterday, NFIB hosted an economic forum with economists and financial experts from NFIB’s Small Business Research Center, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the Philadelphia branch of the United States Federal Reserve to better understand the specific challenges facing small and independent businesses brought on by COVID-19 and exacerbated by state government’s response.
NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends data indicates that 22 percent of small businesses reported inflation was their single most important problem, a 20-point increase from the beginning of 2021 and the highest level since 1981. Additionally, 49 percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, and 48 percent of owners reported raising compensation, a 48-year record high reading. The labor shortage has led to 51 percent of small businesses suffering a moderate to significant loss of sales opportunities, 79 percent offering higher wages, 39 percent adjusting operation hours, and 91 percent of owners working more hours.
With an unprecedented combination of inflation, supply chain disruption, labor shortages, and a ticking time bomb of unemployment compensation costs, Governor Wolf’s final state budget address and 2022 policy priorities simply fail to meet the challenges confronting Main Streets across the Commonwealth.
For 78 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.