Pennsylvania is currently facing a pension crisis. The state's two public pension systems, the State Employees' Retirement System and the Public School Employees' Retirement System, have a combined unfunded liability that will reach up to $58 billion this year. These increasing numbers drive more and more tax dollars away from the classroom and other state programs, and put working families on the hook to pay the pension debt through higher taxes they can't afford.
Citizens to Protect PA Jobs is working with lawmakers to fix this crisis by enacting reforms that will shift the risk away from taxpayers. By moving to a 401(k) style system – like businesses often do – the state can protect taxpayers from covering high pension costs, lead to long-term savings, secure employees' earned benefits and keep education funding in the classrooms where it belongs!
We're also advocating for change at the local level. Nearly $8 billion of municipal pension debt is cutting into public safety and municipal budgets, delaying critical projects and putting taxpayers on the hook for the unfunded liability. Comprehensive pension reforms at the state and local level are necessary to rein in the growing debt and ensure that the pension systems can stay intact for future state, public school and local public safety employees.
Pennsylvania citizens deserve a government that spends within its means. Pension reform is one great step toward helping us get there.
Stop New Energy Taxes is working to save the Impact Tax that is vital to communities throughout our state.
Pennsylvanians need all energy options and the freedom to choose the best alternative energy choices for their families, not government imposed mandates on energy. The free market ensures the availability of abundant, reasonably priced energy, which is important for healthy businesses that foster job creation.
Employment laws and regulations, as well as Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation and workers' compensation systems, should strike a balance between the rights of workers and the flexibility employers need to run their business efficiently and effectively. Unfair burdens on business hurt employers' efforts to grow their businesses and the jobs they provide.
Pennsylvania's legal climate has long been ranked as one of the worst in the country and continues to create barriers to economic growth. Citizens to Protect PA Jobs is working with lawmakers to bring fairness and uniformity to the Commonwealth's legal system. Most recently we have been working on lawsuit abuse reform legislation that would bring more transparency and accountability to asbestos bankruptcy trust litigation.
Over the past several decades, many manufacturing and mining companies went bankrupt when asbestos was determined to cause various health problems. Federal bankruptcy proceedings for those companies established multi-billion dollar trust funds to ensure that asbestos victims were appropriately compensated for their injuries.
Unfortunately, this hasn't stopped plaintiff attorneys from turning to the civil court system to go after companies that might have only used or sold products containing asbestos, but that are solvent and could potentially bring a large pay day. They've found that the lack of communication between the bankruptcy process and the legal system presents a perfect opportunity to seek additional money for claimants that have may have already been appropriately compensated – and for themselves.
This abuse of the system threatens jobs and economic growth. To help mitigate this unfair "double-dipping" trend, Citizens to Protect PA Jobs supports legislation that would apply the principles of the Fair Share Act and bring more transparency to asbestos-related claims, ensuring communication between the administrative trust process and the court system. That way, a judge and jury will have full knowledge of the plaintiff's degree of asbestos exposure and trust money they've already been awarded before the case is heard in court. Armed with this knowledge, an appropriate level of additional compensation, if warranted, can be awarded and defendant companies will only be assessed liability based on their degree of fault.
This reasonable lawsuit abuse reform measure will address abuse of the Commonwealth's civil justice system and bring much needed transparency to Pennsylvania's legal environment.
Pennsylvania's antiquated liquor sales system is inconvenient and doesn't give consumers the choice they have in other states. We're working to move the Keystone State into the 21st century through popular and commonsense liquor reform.
Government should operate within its means: evaluating the effectiveness of current programs; weeding out waste, fraud and abuse in spending; and investing wisely in worthy state-run programs that directly benefit taxpayers.
Citizens to Protect PA Jobs works with elected officials toward ensuring that state budgets are balanced, on-time and do not place unreasonable new tax burdens on business owners who are the economic backbones of their communities. We are committed to enacting spending plans that include classroom-focused education spending, ensure the safety and reliability of our transportation infrastructure and address our major cost-drivers – particularly the state's public pension crisis. Each fiscal year, Pennsylvania's final budget should reflect the true responsibilities of state government and be crafted with the best interests of every citizen of the Commonwealth at heart.
The start of 2016 brought an end to a tax that Citizens to Protect PA Jobs has long argued should be off the books – the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax. This more than 172-year old tax raised a red flag for any business owner because it was imposed on every employer regardless of whether they made a profit. This was especially hard on start-up companies that normally lose revenue in their first few years of operation, ultimately leading them to invest in other states that have friendlier overall tax climates.
Back in 2000, lawmakers decided it was time to end the uncompetitive CSFT and began a gradual phase-out of the tax with a 10 year plan for its full elimination. But the phase-out was held up multiple times as a way to send more money to the General Fund. Finally, after years of making it a priority on our tax reform agenda, Citizens to Protect PA Jobs is pleased to announce that as of January 1 of this year, the CSFT is eliminated. This gives business owners more capital to invest in their companies and the people they employ – a win-win for the private sector AND hard-working taxpayers.