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Lincoln Institute
of Public Opinion Research, Inc.

5405 Jonestown Road, Suite #110
Harrisburg, PA 17112

Phone: (717) 671-0776
Fax: (717) 671-1176

2012 Fall Business Climate Survey

by Lincoln Institute
 

Total Started Survey: 182

Total Finished Survey: 170 (93.4%)

Section I: Business Climate

1. In general, do you think business conditions in Pennsylvania are better, the same, or worse than they were SIX MONTHS AGO?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Better20.4%37
Same44.2%80
Worse34.8%63
No Opinion0.6%1
Answered Question181
Skipped Question1

2. LOOKING AHEAD SIX MONTHS, do you think business conditions will be better, the same, or worse than they are now?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Better24.6%44
Same43.6%78
Worse27.4%49
No Opinion4.5%8
Answered Question179
Skipped Question3

3. Are employment levels at your company higher, the same, or lower, than they were SIX MONTHS AGO?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Higher23.8%43
Same48.1%87
Lower26.5%48
No Opinion1.7%3
Answered Question181
Skipped Question1

4. LOOKING AHEAD SIX MONTHS, do you anticipate that employment levels atyour company will be higher, stay the same, or be lower?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Higher27.6%50
Same52.5%95
Lower14.4%26
No Opinion5.5%10
Answered Question181
Skipped Question1

5. Have your company's sales increased, stayed relatively the same, or decreased during the PAST SIX MONTHS?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Increased30.7%55
Same36.9%66
Decreased31.8%57
No Opinion0.6%1
Answered Question179
Skipped Question3

6. Do you expect your company's sales to increase, stay relatively the same, or decrease during the COMING SIX MONTHS?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Increase36.5%65
Same43.8%78
Decrease16.3%29
No Opinion3.4%6
Answered Question178
Skipped Question4

7. At any point in the PAST SIX MONTHS has your company considered movingall or part of its Pennsylvania operations to another state?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Did move some operations3.9%7
Considered moving some operations10.7%19
Considered moving all operations9.6%17
Moved operations into Pennsylvania0.6%1
Didn't consider any moves75.3%134
Answered Question178
Skipped Question4

8. Do you foresee at any point in the COMING SIX MONTHS your companyconsidering moving all or part of its Pennsylvania operations to anothe state?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

May move all operations4.5%8
May move some operations19.8%35
Not considering any moves73.4%130
May move operations INTO Pennsylvania2.3%4
Answered Question177
Skipped Question5

9. In general, do you have a POSITIVE, NEGATIVE or NO OPINION of the job performance of the following individuals?


PositiveNegativeNo OpinionResponse

Count

President Barack Obama28.3% (51)71.7% (129)0.0% (0)180
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke36.1% (65)42.8% (77)21.1% (38)180
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey44.7% (80)27.9% (50)27.4% (49)179
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.23.2% (41)60.5% (107)16.4% (29)177
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner17.7% (31)58.9% (103)23.4% (41)175
Governor Tom Corbett40.0% (72)39.4% (71)20.6% (37)180
Auditor General Jack Wagner18.6% (33)15.8% (28)65.5% (116)177
State Treasurer Rob McCord20.3% (36)9.6% (17)70.1% (124)177
Answered Question181
Skipped Question1

10. In general, do you have a POSITIVE, NEGATIVE, or NO OPINION of the job performance of the following institutions?


PositiveNegativeNo OpinionResponse

Count

United States Senate7.8% (14)87.2% (157)5.0% (9)180
United States House of Representatives22.8% (41)71.7% (129)5.6% (10)180
Pennsylvania Senate22.3% (40)58.7% (105)19.0% (34)179
Pennsylvania House of Representatives20.7% (37)58.1% (104)21.2% (38)179
Answered Question180
Skipped Question2

Page: Section II: Issues

1. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is planning to have apost-election or "lame duck" session to pass legislation. Do you AGREEor DISAGREE with the House holding voting sessions after the GeneralElection, but before the new legislature takes office in January?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY AGREE11.3%19
SOMEWHAT AGREE29.8%50
SOMEWHAT OPPOSE23.2%39
STRONGLY OPPOSE29.2%49
REFUSED/NO OPINION6.5%11
Answered Question168
Skipped Question14

2. Currently, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employees participate in adefined benefits pension system. Do you think future employees shouldcontinue to be enrolled in a defined benefits program, or should theyinstead be moved into a defined contribution system such as a 401k?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

REMAIN IN DEFINED BENEFITS SYSTEM4.7%8
MOVE INTO A DEFINED CONTRIBUTION SYSTEM79.9%135
GIVEN THE OPTION TO CHOSE EITHER8.9%15
REFUSED/NO OPINION6.5%11
Answered Question169
Skipped Question13

3. A number of public employee retirement systems, ranging from thosecovering state employees to school districts to municipalities, areprojected to experience a significant shortfall in funding in the nearfuture. To deal with that shortfall should governments (check all that apply):


Response

Percent

Response

Count

RAISE TAXES TO COVER THE SHORTFALL10.4%17
DIVERT SPENDING FROM OTHER AREAS TO COVER THE SHORTFALL26.2%43
CUT BENEFITS TO RETIREES45.1%74
REQUIRE HIGHER EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS79.3%130
ALL OF THE ABOVE13.4%22
REFUSED/NO OPINION1.8%3
Other:

* 401Ks are too vulnerable to the market but defined benefit plans are costly and need to be revised, but if retirees just wind up using more public services as a result the savings could be illusory. Still, some combination of pension reform and raising taxes is necessary.

* Cut retirement benefits for those who will start retiring in 10+ years. In other words, plan ahead a little bit for a change.

* Unions are gangs extorting this money

* Stop runaway wasteful spending and bailing out of the crooks

* Increased contribution from State and Feds

* phase out

* Make the business climate pro-business to encourage greater income, hiring so that those working can support the retirement systems.

* Tax Sodas

* cut retirement benefits to people before they retire

* define contribution system for not yet retired, cover existing retirees and those over 60.

* Government benifits should be in line with small-med bisiness

* Eliminate Senate. Reduce size of House of Reps, cut staff to Reps by half.

* Increase tax on gas drilling

* bleed billionaires redeem international debts

* The answers don't adequately address the problem as I understand it.

* Reduce the benefit formula for all new entrants into the public pension system, and establish a maximum benefit amount based on average/medium compensation, or SS wage base - something that defines a limitation at a rational level.

* need a blend

17
Answered Question164
Skipped Question18

4. If Pennsylvania were to raise the minimum wage, would you:


Response

Percent

Response

Count

BE WILLING TO HIRE MORE EMPLOYEES17.4%29
REDUCE YOUR NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES16.2%27
CUT EMPLOYEE HOURS10.8%18
EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS4.2%7
GO OUT OF BUSINESS3.0%5
REFUSED/NO OPINION57.5%96
Answered Question167
Skipped Question15

5. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and various mass transit agencies all say they are experiencing a lack of adequate funding to maintain and to improve Pennsylvania's transportation infrastructure. Which of the following reflects your opinion of how state government should handle funding transportation improvements: (Check all that apply.)


Response

Percent

Response

Count

RAISE GENERAL FUND TAXES6.8%11
RAISE THE GASOLINE TAX34.6%56
RAISE VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEES38.9%63
RAISE DRIVER LICENSE RENEWAL FEES35.2%57
CUT ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD84.0%136
CUT SPENDING IN OTHER AREAS AND DIVERT TO TRANSPORTATION31.5%51
THE FUNDING CRISIS IS OVERBLOWN AND NO ADDITIONAL FUNDS ARE NEEDED13.6%22
REFUSED/NO OPINION3.1%5
Other:

* PennDot is the second most corrupt institution in the state and you and i both know it.

* Create incentives for using mass transit and carshares to keep cars off the road.

* Raise tolls and eliminate prevailing wage on projects

* smaller more efficient vehiles

* more user fees

* The PTC used to be one of the richest in STate Govt. What did you do with your money?

* unions make construction ridiculously expensive

* Outsource to private organizations; government cannot run businesses properly

* go to private contracting

* toll other roads

* In general, the people using the transportation should pay for it.

* create tolling opportunities

* Impose mileage tax on electric and propane vehicles

* REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE

* cut number of employees and administration

* Privatize road projects

* Unfund mandate for I80 toll road

* REPLACE TURNPIKE COMMISSION

* Raise Marcellus Shale Fees Taxes

* Raise Mass Transit user fees

* better manage their money like most citizens do

* more toll roads raise tolls - make users pay for roads/bridges

* Raise Cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax

* get mfg jobs back from the Chinese

* The answers don't adequately address the problem as I understand it.

* There is a big difference between real need, and public works jobs programs coming out of a recession - which tends to be political spending of the worst kind. Spend less! Also, with electric vehicles and public transportation in urban areas - fees for licensing, registration, and fuel could be heading lower. People who use public raodways need to contribute, whether or not they own or drive a vehicle.

* Reduce size of Turnpike Commission

* again, needs a blend

* Allow for the projects to be bid as non-union projects

* user fees

30
Answered Question162
Skipped Question20

6. The General Assembly is considering a plan to end the state's liquor store monopoly and place distribution and retail sales of wine and spirits in private hands. Do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of privatizing the state's liquor stores?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY APPROVE70.7%118
SOMEWHAT APPROVE12.6%21
SOMEWHAT DISAPPROVE6.6%11
STRONGLY DISAPPROVE6.0%10
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.2%7
Answered Question167
Skipped Question15

7. For two years in a row, Governor Tom Corbett has proposed and the General Assembly has approved state general fund budgets that held spending at a rate where no additional taxes were required. Generally speaking, do you think:


Response

Percent

Response

Count

STATE SPENDING SHOULD BE CUT FURTHER44.6%75
THE CURRENT TAX/SPENDING LEVELS ARE APPROPRIATE38.7%65
STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD INCREASE TAXES AND SPENDING10.1%17
REFUSED/NO OPINION6.5%11
Answered Question168
Skipped Question14

8. The Federal Reserve has embarked on what is known as Quantatative Easing III, or expanding the money supply in an effort to spur the U.S. Economy. Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with this strategy?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY AGREE15.0%25
SOMEWHAT AGREE22.8%38
SOMEWHAT DISAGREE16.8%28
STRONGLY DISAGREE37.7%63
REFUSED/NO OPINION7.8%13
Answered Question167
Skipped Question15

9. Generally speaking, has your business's ability to borrow funds / access capital gotten EASIER or MORE DIFFICULT over the past year?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

MUCH EASIER2.4%4
SOMEWHAT EASIER11.2%19
ABOUT THE SAME26.0%44
SOMEWHAT MORE DIFFICULT19.5%33
MUCH MORE DIFFICULT21.3%36
NO NEED TO BORROW14.8%25
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.7%8
Answered Question169
Skipped Question13

10. Generally speaking, do you think BARACK OBAMA or MITT ROMNEY would more effecively lead the nation out of the current economic downturn?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

BARACK OBAMA28.7%48
MITT ROMNEY67.1%112
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.2%7
Answered Question167
Skipped Question15

11. In what part of Pennsylvania is your business located?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Northwest PA6.5%11
Southwest PA20.1%34
Northcentral PA3.0%5
Altoona/Johnstown3.0%5
Southcentral/Harrisburg18.3%31
Southeastern PA38.5%65
Lehigh Valley4.1%7
Northeastern PA6.5%11
Answered Question169
Skipped Question13

12. Which category best describes your position at the business in which your work:


Response

Percent

Response

Count

OWNER70.0%119
CEO/COO/CFO25.3%43
STATE MANAGER0.6%1
LOCAL MANAGER1.2%2
NO ANSWER/REFUSED1.2%2
Other:

* partner

* Govt Rel Mgr

* VP

1.8%3
Answered Question170
Skipped Question12

13. Please feel free to make any additional comments or observations about Pennsylvania's business climate.


Response Count
Responses:

* Defunding public education as Corbett has done is a stupid economic move. Our people are our best asset and we need to invest in them. It's also unbelievably irresponsible not to be taxing shale gas and setting up clean-up funds from drillers. We also need to be watching the environmental impact of shale gas drilling closely and planning for the inevitable clean-ups so state funds aren't used and natural resources aren't harmed.

* The most effective way for State to retain control and improve performance is to wrest control from the Federal Government. State government should perform more functions closer to home. SO the increase in State tax and spending should come at the reduction of Federal tax and spending.

* Most issues of concern are on a national level concerning the stagnant economy. Survivors are hanging on and at the ready to eliminate workers and do more with less. By now, most of us have decreased costs where we can. A min wage increase, tax increases or increased regulation will tip even more businesses into the abyss. We need to get manufacturers energy producers producing again! Social issues need to be de-prioritized and government should become smaller.

* Unemployment tax rates are very high businesses and the system is frustrating to use. It recently calculated my UC tax incorrectly and now I have to spend several hours completing forms to get a refund. Customer service is also lacking. The customer service rep told me that the State knows there is a problem with the way it calculates it, but in order to get a refund I have to do all the work...for a KNOWN issue!

* Reform of the tort system and the judicial selection system would go along way to helping business. In addition, elected officials and candidates should quit wasting time on irrelevant "social issues" and focus exclusively on the economy and business environmnet.

* Union pensions have caused taxes to be too high

* I'm adamantly against the government running things that are better off in the hands of those better trained/prepared (i.e. private businesses). The liquor stores is a high profile example, but there are many others. In addition, the taxes to do business in the City of Philadelphia are stifling and will eventually drive more businesses away.

* The whole system needs redone. Government is out of touch with reality.

* Too much bureaucratic overhead for small businesses -- it is interesting that the state has so many nonprofits (and I am willing to support many) that do not pay taxes but a business with the same revenue number pays taxes and does not get the benefits that many of the small nonprofits do -- for example for a business to be successful they need technology -- so does a nonprofit -- technology is expense and is taxable. A nonprofit not only gets the technology at a reduced rate but does not pay tax. PA is behind in their thought process -- they need to make it easier for smaller businesses. Also there are too many special interest groups that help businesses but they also hurt businesses -- a special interest group that gets funding from the state so that they can provide services at a lower rate is hurting the person that has been out of work that can't provide the service at the "reduced" rate. Level the playing field -- again PA is behind the eight ball.

* This look like a push poll for Tom Corbett....yes?

* Harrisburg is bankrupt what does that tell us about the rest of the state? Taxes are too high but as long as we are going to overpay school teachers and gov workers it can't be fixed.

* We have held on through a terrible recession. If things don't markedly improve in 2013 we will lose our business.

* Reduce state spending and privatize the liquor stores.

* Spending in all levels of government are too high; increased regulations are also an extreme burden (federal worse, state is getting a bit better)

* The climate is anti- black business. The support and contracts to Black owned businesses has went down under Mr. Corbet, the MWDBE program is of no help. The bundling of contracts has been very harmful to Black owned service business. Letters to Mr. Corbet results in unproductive calls and meetings. There is no follow up from the administration. The online system has not resulted in work for our company. The COSTAR system was to help small business. One year we paid $500 to register and setup meeting thru out the area with no results. We set up many meetings with organizations in the system that did not see the need to comply. The money and hours spent traveling all over the region was a waste. Presently we are being sent request to sub from prime's that have no attention of doing business but are meeting a requirement to make an attempt. The system does not work because the prime contractor knows that the minority participation clause has no teeth. This administration has no concern for black owned business even though the black community has an unemployment rate for above all other groups. The need is not for new government laws or new programs but for a concentrated effort and enforcement to make sure that Black owned businesses receive contracts directly from the State and that they are paid in a timely manner. The buck stops at the top and at this point what I have seen is that the top does not care. Our business started in 1985 and has not received a measurable amount of work since Bob Casey was in office. His administration was involved in the process with good oversight, responded to our letters and did not pass the buck. There are no incentives positive or negative to really do business with Black owned service businesses. those incentives come from the heart and mind of the person at the top. Laws and programs are just words on paper or on the internet. It is the day to day actions that count.

* Governor Corbett is significantly hurting this state

* 30/10/2012 2:08 PMView Responses

* Smaller government is always better government.

* 30/10/2012 1:55 PMView Responses

* Question 7 does not allow for my option, raise taxes and continue to cut goverment.

* 30/10/2012 1:39 PMView Responses

* Obama is more of a hindrance to business growth than Pennsylvania is. My opinion is if Romey gets elected, you will see an almost immediate bounce in the economy.

* The federal, state, and local government needs to reduce the guaranteed benefits to its employees, demand greater performance of its workers, and eliminate early retirement based on years of service.

* Think about your audience and the various types of businesses. Some of these questions don't apply to a professional service business.

* the size of gov't and interference by gov't needs to be reduced drastically. There is a good chance that i will close down next yr due to all the taxes (corrupt gov't). If i were younger i would move my business out of Pa. Now i just might retire. I fdeel some obligation to my employees but not at my expense any longer.

* Get the intitlements out of my pockets, and Polititians, Goverment employees, need to have there benifits reduced more in line with the public sector.

* civil employees have no idea that there is a recession. They have not felt its effects at all for 4 full years. Particularly in washington

* CONTINUING TO TOLERATE THE GROSS INCOMPETENCE OF THE LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD AND THE PA TURNPIKE COMMISSION IS GUTLESS DERELICTION OF DUTY.

* Decrease as many regulations and regulatory agencies as we can. They create uncertainty and unexpected costs which make it next to impossible to budget accordingly. We must also lower taxes. I just had people from Ireland offer to move my whole company there, re-train workers and offer me a 10 year tax abaitment. That is attractive and pro-business. I have already moved 2 divisions overseas and will not put more burden on myself to build here unless more pro-business moves are taken. Don't assume your current companies will stay here. Why does our government offer incentives to outside our state companies but not companies with 20 plus years here? Actually, I don't want any incentive or any other handout just stop creating an unlevel playing field. Good luck with making the necessary changes to bring more opportunity to this region...too many takers; not enough givers anymore. Good bye, An Exhausted entrepreneur

* Two thoughts: 1) I just came back from a business trip to Ohio. It was good to see folks manufacturing useable goods vs pushing paper around, which is more of what I see in PA. 2) Wealthy investors need to keep investment capital here in the PA Region, not sending it to Silicon Valley. 3) I am being advised that as my company grows, move it out of the U.S.

* Cities are especially pushed to the limit of what services they support and the businesses which employ people in suburbs and other communities without having the ability to get income from those people, thus creating ghettos surrounded by upperclass neighborhoods. Many young talented folks like vibrant city lifestyles but PA offers only homogenous suburbs, ghetto-ized cities and retirement communities. Finding qualified people (who have talent and good attitudes) is almost impossible. One employee relocated back to NY City after 8 months in Harrisburg. Out of 500 resumes to replace an entry level designer, ONLY TWO were even worth interviewing.

* High corporate taxes discourage profits

* the inability to deduct losses from prior periods is ridiculous. Even NJ allows loss carryforwards. For new businesses, this is a killer. We had real losses and now are taxed on profits that only exist in a fiscal year.

* I hear people complain about the number of taxes and regulations that businesses face. I don't find that to be the case with my business. I think the criticism is overblown.

* spending on education need to be increased

* Generally I think there is too mucha favoritism and politicing. PA could be a top 10 state in jobs, education, quality of life and we just get in our own way. I think that there is disregard fort hte environment, education and the state is not innovative when it comes to healthcare, energy or education.

* The General Assembly can be reduced in size. Grants to companies to sdave energy cost are a give away and a waste of tax payer money. If energy taxes increase paybacks on energy saving improvements will make sense on their own and not need subsidized. Also, natural gas production should be taxed at rates other energy producing states charge--this is OUR oil and gas and we are giving it away. Fianlly, public sector employees should not be allowed to unionize and unfairly benefit at the expense of their neighbors.

* We need to become a right to work state ifwe hope to attract business to pa from overseas. We need to cut regulation to make it easier to build.

* I am more concerned over the real truth coming out regarding Penn State and the Sandusky affair.

* its kind of like the climate on mars. There's business here?

* I believe in SMALLER GOVT. Less intrusive govt.

* Too many receiving benefits; too few paying for the cost of those benefits.

* Raise taxes on energy companies, fix our bad roads and bridges and increase funding on K-12 education.

* Reduce government interference in our business. Increase Medicaid healthcare reimbursement to cover the cost of providing the services so that we don't have to force private payors to pay more.

* The State legislature needs to be reduced in size. Benefits to state legislatures needs to be reduced.

42
Answered Question42
Skipped Question140