Pennsylvania is not only open for business, the commonwealth is seeking to be a predator of new business, according to Secretary of Revenue Dan Meuser.
Meuser was in Carlisle speaking to the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce as a stop on his fall tour, in which he will travel around the state sharing details of Gov. Tom Corbett’s “Plan for Advancing Pennsylvania.”
The presentation, which consisted of 26 PowerPoint slides, re-iterated many of the points Corbett, the state’s former attorney-general, made during his campaign for governor and during his first several months in office.
Meuser highlighted some long-term strategies the administration would like to implement to “foster a competitive business, job creation environment in the commonwealth,” as the slide was titled.
Those strategies include a complete phase-out of the capital stock/foreign franchise tax by 2014; reducing the corporate net income tax (CNIT) reduction; adopting CNIT single sales factor (SSF) move to 100 percent on sales; removing the cap on net operating loss deductions; fighting corporate tax fraud; addressing e-commerce and use tax; and repealing the inheritance tax, among others.
Meuser acknowledged that there is “not a tremendous amount of faith and trust in government these days” and said that lack of faith, trust and transparency was something the Corbett administration was committed to combating.
In explaining Corbett’s oft-stated principle that “Pennsylvania is open for business,” Meuser said that Pennsylvania was “predatory” in the sense that it “needs to be on the short list of places businesses want to go when they relocate.”
He also touched on the hot-button issue of Marcellus Shale drilling in the northeastern part of the state. Corbett has repeatedly refused to levy an extraction tax on drillers, arguing that such a tax would drive the industry out of Pennsylvania and into other states.
Critics and opponents of Corbett’s refusal to levy such a tax have pointed out that the gas is in Pennsylvania and can’t be extracted in other states.
Corbett is not, however, opposed to “impact fees,” Meuser said, adding that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” for businesses that want to do business in the commonwealth.
One of the many areas in which Corbett took flak in his first-ever budget, proposed in February, was the massive cuts in funding to schools, both at the K-12 level and at the post-secondary and graduate levels.
Part of Corbett’s long-term goals are to create funding in which the “funding follows the student,” said Meuser, who added that while Corbett does not want to be known as “the education governor,” Meuser believes the governor’s actions will speak for themselves.
The goal of the administration is to educate students in Pennsylvania and keep them here after graduation.
Meuser also highlighted some of the changes Corbett achieved within his first six months as governor, including the “Fair Share Act,” reform that limits the liability for negligence of defendants in many civil court cases.
If a defendant is less than 60 percent responsible, he can only be held liable monetarily for the true percentage of responsibility, unless the case falls into one of three categories of exception: the defendant was more than 60 percent at fault, there was intentional misrepresentation or there was an intentional tort.
Tort reform is a perennial issue for the state legislature, which wrestles with how to balance the need for limits on damages for tort claims – torts are civil wrongs for which the law recognizes a remedy – with the need to protect of citizens.
More information can be found on the Department of Revenue’s website at www.revenue.state.pa.us.
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