Gene Barr Speaks at Legislative Breakfast in Venango
Susan Williams, Executive Director of the Venango Chamber of Commerce, and John R. Phillips, II, President of the Oil Region Alliance, welcomed 85+ guests to the newest hangar at the Venango Regional Airport in Franklin for a Legislative Affairs Breakfast on Friday, October 26.
The keynote speaker for the breakfast was Gene Barr, President of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Barr quoted Abraham Lincoln, “You can’t make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak.” He said that the state Chamber of Commerce works diligently to strengthen the business climate in Pennsylvania. He praised Governor Corbett for reining in spending and not adding any new taxes. Under the governor’s leadership, the state budget is now passed on time. The corporate net income tax is being phased out and the tax code streamlined. The new Shale facility that will be built in Butler County will create thousands of construction jobs, but no taxpayer dollars will be used until the oil companies make a substantial investment. Pennsylvania has joined the other 49 states and now requires those receiving benefits to look for employment. But Mr. Barr suggested that additional work is needed. Our courts now allow cases to be filed in counties other than where the action occurred. Entitlements need to be reined in; payments to the state pension system will be due in 2 or 3 years. Work force initiatives need aligned. A typical four-year college degree may not be required to secure employment and a one or two year cooperative education program may be all that is necessary.
He concluded his remarks and then answered questions from the audience which included members of the Boards of Directors from both the Venango Chamber of Commerce and the Oil Region Alliance, as well as local officials and candidates in the upcoming election.