Corbett Adamant With Local Business Leaders: New Taxes Cannot Fund Budget Shortfalls

Marcus Rauhut
Carlisle Public Opinion

Pennsylvania can’t raise taxes to fill budget holes if it wants to remain competitive in a global economy, Gov. Tom Corbett said during a visit to Chambersburg today.

He spoke to about 250 business owners and elected officials Wednesday, having recently returned from a European trade mission. During the trip, which was paid for by the Team PA Foundation, Corbett and other delegates met with German and French companies considering investing in the Pennsylvania area.

“In Europe we were selling the proximity of Franklin and Adams Counties to Washington D.C.,” he said. “This is a key location, and it’s so important that we grow the economy.”

He said the trip was successful and there “may be some announcements” soon.

“There are businesses that are interested in Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. “We have the work ethic, we have the workers, we have the environment, we have low energy costs.”

He said Pennsylvania has to keep a favorable tax and regulatory climate if the state is to be in the running for big projects.

He gave the example of Shell Oil, which was considering sites in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania for a new a multi-billion dollar petrochemical refinery. The company recently announced a land option agreement for a site in Beaver County.

Corbett said to stay competitive, the state cannot raise taxes on corporations — that includes taxing Marcellus Shale gas extraction — to fill state budget holes, even with rising pension obligations to state and school employees.

“We’re trying to change the culture of how we spend — or how we don’t spend. We have to live within our means,” Corbett said. “When I came in, the cupboards were bare. People say, ‘Raise taxes.’ That’s not how to do it.”

His speech resonated with Franklin County business owners.

“I’m totally in support of the governor’s program to not raise taxes, even though education and other funding has to be cut,” said Bill Gindlesperger, chairman and CEO of e-LYNXX Corp. “As a business owner, you have to have money for investing in your business, and you can’t invest if you’re overloaded in taxes.”

“He was spot on about getting control of the Senate and White House. The issues in Washington are not only affecting Pennsylvania, they’re affecting everybody,” said Bill Sellers of William F. Sellers Funeral Home.

The luncheon Wednesday at the Orchards Restaurant was not a political fund raiser — proceeds went to the 9/11 memorial at Letterkenny — but Corbett did use his speech in Chambersburg to call for change in Washington. He stopped short, though, of endorsing a presidential candidate. “We need to win the Senate and we need to win the White House,” Corbett said. “I can’t think of a more important election than this one.”

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