Pennsylvania has a reputation for a business climate that holds in-state manufacturers at a disadvantage, compromising their competitive standing in relation to other states. We are committed to supporting the passage of laws that would improve the competitiveness of Pennsylvania's business climate and reduce excessive state-imposed burdens on Pennsylvania's manufacturers.
Civil Justice Reform
(Manufacturers would prefer a nationwide, uniform, fair federal product liability reform law. However, we support legislation that would improve Pennsylvania's civil liability laws.) We support state civil justice reform legislation that would (1) replace joint and several liability with a comparative responsibility standard, (2) impose stricter standards on punitive damage awards, (3) establish a 15-year statute of repose, recognizing that all products eventually wear out, (4) improve protections for innocent sellers, and (5) encourage arbitration as an expeditious alternative to lengthy court trials.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania outspends almost every other state in the nation on economic development programs: almost four times the national per-capita average; seventeen percent of all state economic development spending in the country. For all that spending, Pennsylvania ranks 47th out of the 50 states in terms of new job creation. We believe that lower economic development expenditures coupled with a competitive state business climate, would more effectively accelerate the Commonwealth’s economic expansion.
Controlling the cost of health care insurance ranks as the most important state legislative issue for the members of this association. Most recent legislative proposals would do just the opposite. For example, Pennsylvania Physicians want a law that would permit them to enter into collective bargaining agreements with insurers. They claim managed care contracts hamper their ability to provide optimum care to patients, and are backing a bill that would permit them to negotiate terms and conditions of health-plan contracts. The bill’s prime sponsor is Rep. J. Scot Chadwick (R-Bradford). We oppose this proposed legislation. Pennsylvania manufacturers provide quality health care voluntarily to their employees. Anti-managed care bills would destroy that system by driving costs beyond the reach of many employers.
We support the concept of voluntary unionism. We support the repeal of state agency shop laws (H.B. 1544, 1928, 1929; S.B. 9, 500, 501), and we support the passage of a Right to Work law (S.B. 503) to cover all citizens of the Commonwealth. We oppose any new legislation that would infringe upon a citizen's individual freedom of association in the work place. Employment statistics indicate that manufacturing jobs are migrating away from Pennsylvania to states that have Right-to-Work Laws.
Reducing the burden of state business taxes ranks as the second-most important state legislative issue for the members of this association. Pennsylvania’s business tax structure reaches a broader base and imposes higher tax rates than almost every other state. The Corporate Net Income Tax is third highest in the country. We are one of only 22 states that levy an additional tax on corporate worth (the Capital Stock & Franchise Tax) and one of only 18 that tax both corporate income and worth; in addition to one of the highest CNI rates, the CS&FT rate is one of the highest in the country. This association has actively and effectively participated in the legislative process, to preserve the Manufacturers' Exemption and secure the General Assembly's commitment to completely phase out the Capital Stock & Franchise Tax.
This association was one of the most active participants, helping to focus support for the passage of Act 57, the Workers’ Compensation Reform Act, which substantially reduced the cost of Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation system. The Association continues to be a leader on WC issues, by directly participating as a member of the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau.