Democrat Tom Wolf defeated
incumbent Tom Corbett in the race for Governor. Small businesses will be
keeping an eye on several proposals from Governor-elect Wolf to raise taxes and
pass mandates dictating private business employee policies. Wolf has said he
wants to increase personal income taxes on “higher wage earners” but hasn’t
defined that term. The Governor-elect also wants to impose a five percent
severance tax on natural gas extraction. Many small businesses dependent on the
shale gas boom worry the drillers might leave Pennsylvania if it becomes too
costly for their industry. Other small businesses that hold leases are
concerned they will shoulder much of the cost of a severance tax through their
royalties. Wolf has also said he supports mandated paid employee leave and raising
the minimum wage.
The election was a
resounding success for pro-small business candidates in the state Senate and
House where pro-small business majorities increased.
In the House, all nine of
the NFIB endorsed candidates running in open seats were elected and three NFIB
endorsed challengers were able to defeat incumbents. In total, 104 NFIB endorsed candidates won
their election. A special highlight is
NFIB member Jason Ortitay’s (R- Allegheny) victory over incumbent Jesse White
in the 46th legislative district.
The House will begin next session with an historic 119-84 Republican
In the Senate, all 17 NFIB
endorsed candidates won their election.
Another special highlight is NIFB member Pat Stefano’s (R-Fayette)
victory in the open 32nd district.
The Senate will begin next session with a 30-20 Republican majority.
There are currently six NFIB
members serving in the General Assembly who won re-election. With Ortitay and Stefano’s victories, we will
now have a total of eight elected officials who view things from a small
business perspective. Overall,
NFIB-endorsed candidates won 96% of their elections.
The next governor is likely
to face great scrutiny if he wants to get his initiatives passed. NFIB will be monitoring the situation and
offering input on how small businesses are affected by higher taxes and other
mandates. We will also continue to monitor government agencies to ensure that
regulatory means or executive action is not used to circumvent the