Wednesday, 13 January 2021 16:32

Pennsylvania Eyes Economic Recovery as Small Business Confidence Lags

Written by Christen Smith, The Center Square


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Pennsylvania legislators announced plans for economic recovery on Jan. 12 as industry analysts report a historic low in small business confidence.

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, said the chamber’s Economic Recovery Task Force will focus on aligning the state’s “homegrown assets” with opportunities for growth in hopes of turning the state into “the envy of the East.”


“As we began this session, I made it a priority to develop a working group of lawmakers from across Pennsylvania, with varied backgrounds, to put their heads together to help inform my office about what economic recovery legislation should look like,” he said.


“Their charge is simple: Examine how we got here and develop and strategize legislative and policy ideas to kick-start the economy and make Pennsylvania the ‘envy of the East.’”


Lawmakers can start with favorable tax and regulatory policies, said Gordon Denlinger, director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. Lingering uncertainty from ongoing COVID-19 restrictions at the state---and potentially federal---level plummeted small business confidence to historic lows, according to the NFIB.


“There is an amazing amount of uncertainty at this time, with small business owners concerned about health mandates coming from Gov. Tom Wolf, and policy changes that will advance at the federal level,” Denlinger said. “In addition to favorable tax and regulatory policies, business owners need stability to make good decisions and plan for the future."


According to the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index, just 8% of businesses think it's a good time to expand. Nine of the index’s components declined, with virtually no one anticipating better business conditions over the next six months.


“The current dramatic changes in Washington and our ongoing challenges in Harrisburg are not providing stability or much in the way of hope for strong pro-business support from government,” Denlinger said.


Pandemic restrictions continue hampering industries unevenly---while bars and restaurants...

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