Remarks by Governor Wolf at the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania Annual Business Luncheon

first_imgRemarks by Governor Wolf at the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania Annual Business Luncheon December 03, 2015 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img African American Affairs,  Economy,  Equality,  Remarks Omni William Penn HotelPittsburgh, PATRANSCRIPT:Thank you for having me here today. Your concerns are absolutely important to me and to every Pennsylvanian who wants a strong economy.You want to promote opportunities for all. So do I.You want to break down barriers in our economy. So do I.You want a level playing field. So do I.Above all, you want a good job for everyone. So do I.The point is that you and I both know that fairness and inclusion matter to all these things. We need an economy that holds out the promise of a good job for everyone. We cannot succeed if that promise – that possibility – is not real for everyone. A society that is unfair to some is unfair to all. If we want a healthy economy, if we want strong neighborhoods, if we want good families, we must be fair to each other.There are many things we need to do to create that kind of Pennsylvania. In my administration, I am committed to making sure that state government better reflects the diversity of our citizens – in who we hire and who we do business with.I have made sure my administration is more diverse than my predecessors, including prominent African American executives – including my General Counsel, State Police Commissioner, Secretary of Corrections, Inspector General and Deputy Chief of Staff.But among the things we need to do, the most important is that we need a fair economy – a level playing field where everyone is encouraged to participate, to take risk, to work hard, to learn new skills, and to invest those talents. And that’s what I want to talk about today.This idea of fairness is important because without fairness none of the things we care about actually works. Our economy doesn’t work optimally if some people are shut out of the market’s opportunities, nor do our communities or our families. In the broadest possible sense I’m doing everything I can to promote fairness in Pennsylvania.I am doing this by investing in education for all children in all communities.I am doing this by trying to make the communities of Pennsylvania better by addressing the huge fiscal – and tax – disparities that separate too many of those communities and that consign too many of them to permanent decline.I’m doing this by trying to follow William Penn’s proud tradition of tolerance and respect by making Pennsylvania a great place to live and work for all people regardless of the color of their skin, their gender, the religion they profess, or the person they love.And I’m trying to make our economy fairer by supporting policies that do just that.For example: stronger non-discrimination laws, a higher minimum wage, more accessible voting processes, a long overdue implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and an executive order aimed at improving the participation of small and diverse businesses in state government contracting, among other things.Pennsylvania is the right place to address these issues. We have grappled with these eternal issues since our founding and we continue to wrestle with them today. That’s as it should be in a democracy that values freedom, equal opportunity, and self-reliance. It’s also as it should be in a democracy that is eternally trying to improve itself.Fairness is at the heart of any effort to promote the values all healthy democracies hold dear and it’s at the heart of any successful society.Fairness is not only right; it’s also smart. Here’s why.Our economy doesn’t work if some people feel the deck is stacked against them. Our free market economy runs on fairness. It depends on all participants feeling they have an even shot at gaining a return from the work they do, the effort they expend, or the risks they take.A tilted playing field dampens competition and it makes the game less interesting. It also makes an economy less dynamic and less productive. We can’t put up with that. Our economy cannot operate on all cylinders if all the cylinders are not allowed to operate.And what’s true of our economy is also true of our communities. Our communities can’t work if some of its members feel shut out. Healthy communities rely on broadly shared feelings of inclusion. Healthy communities are cohesive communities, where everybody feels a part – young and old, rich and poor, women and men.Pittsburgh won’t work as a strong community if all of its members are not permitted to contribute to it. Communities that make only a few people feel welcome are not really welcoming places at all, and communities that are not welcoming are not healthy.Finally, families depend on fairness. Happy families are fair families. Challenges and crises are equitably borne, so are good times. Families cannot be strong if the benefits of being part of that family are not fairly shared, or if certain members of the family are excluded from the events and experiences that together define that family.All these things matter, but we need more than just good intentions if we’re going to produce the culture of fairness we need to succeed as a society.Let’s start with our tax code. Taxes have to be: adequate, competitive, and fair. In Pennsylvania we don’t do too well here. First, we are not able to adequately fund the public goods a healthy economy needs. Second, the tax system that is in some ways so inadequate is also too high – especially when it comes to businesses.Our Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate is the highest in the nation at 9.99%. This is a disgrace. It needs to be much lower. I proposed cutting it in half.Our property tax system is also a disgrace. On average, it is low, but the fiscal disparities between communities has led to some very high – almost punitive – rates in some areas. We need property tax relief in the form of a higher share of education funding coming from the state. Reducing these two taxes would have a big impact on Pennsylvania’s business climate.Finally, we need to make sure the tax system is fair. We need to make sure our tax burden is spread equitably across all classes of taxpayer.Thus, while we need to reduce the CNIT, we also need to eliminate the loopholes that distort it. The current CNIT loopholes tend to reward entrenched interests at the expense of new – often innovative – businesses. We need to maintain our flat – and low – personal income tax (PIT). And once again we need to eliminate the huge fiscal disparities that exist between – sometimes adjacent – communities.This often results in excessive tax rates in some places. This variation in tax rates can produce rates that are too high, but it can also create a sense of unfairness that undermines the legitimacy of both the tax system and the political regime that sponsors it. We can also do more to make Pennsylvania fairer by making sure the way we invest state economic development dollars is fair.DCED must make sure its programs support the need for fairness. Programs like the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Program (PIDA) that are aimed at encouraging small business growth have to be organized fairly. We need to make sure that starting a business is something everyone can dream of.The point is that, Pennsylvania can do much to make it more attractive to business entrepreneurs looking for a congenial spot to locate.We have so many good qualities: our location, our workforce, two world-class cities, a noble history, great universities and colleges, great natural beauty.We need to make sure the public policies we produce complement – rather than contradict – those huge innate competitive advantages. And making Pennsylvania fairer is central to making it better. Let’s keep working together to make Pennsylvania better and stronger by making it fairer.Thanks again for having me here, and thanks for doing what you do.###Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolflast_img read more

Man Found Dead from Medical Condition

first_imgDECATUR COUNTY, Ind. — A local man found dead on his property near an overturned tractor late Sunday passed away as a result of a medical condition, according to the Decatur County Coroner’s Office.Larry Welsh, 63, was found Sunday night near an overturned tractor on his property near St. Maurice.Emergency personal were called to the scene around 11:45.The Coroner’s Office says Welsh’s death was due to a medical condition, not as a result of the accident.last_img