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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

Fall 2014 Keystone Business Climate Survey

Response Summary


by Lincoln Institute
 

Total Started Survey: 316

Total Finished Survey:309  (97.8%)

Section I: Issues

1. Do you think state government spends TOO MUCH, ABOUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT, or TOO LITTLE on public education?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

TOO MUCH39.5%124
ABOUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT27.4%86
TOO LITTLE29.0%91
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.1%13
Answered question314
Skipped question2

2. Would you personally be willing to pay higher taxes in order to provide additional funding to public education?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

YES18.6%58
NO77.9%243
REFUSED/NO OPINION3.5%11
Answered question312
Skipped question4

3. The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) allows businesses to take a partial tax credit when making financial contributions to public and/or private schools. Do you think the General Assembly should allocate more money to the tax credit fund so the number of business participating can be increased?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

INCREASE EITC FUND47.4%147
KEEP EITC FUND AT CURRENT LEVELS35.5%110
REFUSED/NO OPINION17.1%53
Answered question310
Skipped question6

4. Do you think an extraction tax should be placed on companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale region?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Response

Percent

Response

Count

YES51.1%158
NO44.3%137
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.5%14
Other Responses:

  • They already pay communities and municipalities money every year. Our little village gets over $200,000 every year from the gas industry.
  • as long as it is fair,a good parasite does not kill the host
  • Perhaps a small 1%, but not more than that!
  • only if stone quarries, well drillers, etc are already extraction taxed
  • Same as Texas
  • Only if it doesn't increase gas prices to Pa. Residents.
  • I am not clear on what the current fees, taxes, etc are placed on companies that are involved in this business are currently.
  • Don't know enough about it to answer
  • These companies are paying the same corporate /personal taxes as every other company in PA. They should not be required to pay more.
  • equal to what quarries, mines and other extractions pay
  • if that is what other states do
  • must be dedicated to educationnot in general fund
  • They will not tolerate a tax AND excess regulation
  • More tax = less drilling = less jobs = morons on harisburg
  • A reasonable severance tax will not deter drilling. I"m a economic geologist.
  • however, a reasonable extraction tax don't push them away
  • Pay per volume extracted not by tax
  • Total taxes paid by drilling companies need to be evaluated to weigh our state's competitiveness, not just the extraction tax by itself.
  • The state should be receiving more taxes than ever since more people are getting jobs from the shale drilling. If we add more tax to the drillers they will just go to OH and WV.
  • There is already more tax on PA gas than TX gas.
  • VERY mixed emotions---I believe the TAX PAYERS will lose reguardless!
21
Answered question309
Skipped question7

5. Pennsylvania currently has a "flat" personal income tax, which means everybody regardless of income pays the same rate. Should the commonwealth retain that system, or would you prefer a "graduated" personal income tax where low income earners are exempt and higher income earners pay a higher percentage rate?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

RETAIN THE CURRENT FLAT TAX84.3%264
SWITCH TO A GRADUATED INCOME TAX13.7%43
REFUSED/NO OPINION1.9%6
Answered question313
Skipped question3

6. Would you support raising the state personal income tax rate from 3.07% to 5% while exempting the first $30,000 in income from taxation?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY SUPPORT6.1%19
SOMEWHAT SUPPORT17.3%54
SOMEWHAT OPPOSE13.7%43
STRONGLY OPPOSE59.7%187
REFUSED/NO OPINION3.2%10
Answered question313
Skipped question3

7. One candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania has proposed a mandate requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Would you:


Response

Percent

Response

Count

SUPPORT FOR ALL BUSINESSES6.4%20
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES WITH OVER 50 EMPLOYEES16.7%52
OPPOSE FOR ALL BUSINESSES75.6%235
REFUSED/NO OPINION1.3%4
Answered question311
Skipped question5

8. The Obama Administration has delayed implementation of some portions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) impacting employers. Has this had any impact on your hiring plans?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

NO IMPACT58.3%180
YES, HIRED SOONER THAN PLANNED0.6%2
YES, HIRED LATER THAN PLANNED3.2%10
YES, DECIDED NOT TO HIRE24.6%76
YES, REDUCED NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES10.0%31
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.5%14
Other:

  • Reducing Hours worked
  • Created a lower wage position
  • Rates are already higher because of Bozo the President
  • business market not good enough to hire anyone!!!
  • May change my mind after the next renewal.
  • outsourced subs to temp agency
  • Because we are a smaller company, we need not have such concern at this point.
  • we are exempt since we only have 12 employees
  • Too small to be effected (also above questions need space for comment. Truly sick people should be paid how long? What illnesses are covered etc? Is important to the question. I support more money for schools but I feel too much is wasted until all areas of government get waste under control and function with a balanced budget (like my business must do) I do not support giving any additional tax dollars (yes I am angry and fed up with government)
9
Answered question309
Skipped question7

9. Has implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had any impact on the wages/salaries you pay your employees? (CHECK ALL THAT

APPLY)


Response

Percent

Response

Count

NO IMPACT42.2%132
PAY NEW EMPLOYEES LESS13.4%42
REDUCED CURRENT EMPLOYEE PAY5.1%16
DELAYED PAY RAISES32.6%102
REDUCED AMOUNT OF PAY RAISES28.4%89
INCREASED EMPLOYEE PAY1.9%6
PAID NEW HIRES LESS12.8%40
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.8%15
Answered question313
Skipped question3

10. How important do you think it is for the General Assembly to act on the following issues:


PENSION REFORMLIQUOR PRIVATIZATIONPAYCHECK PROTECTIONUNION VIOLENCE BILLLEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANARating

Count

VERY IMPORTANT57.4% (162)9.9% (28)7.4% (21)16.0% (45)9.2% (26)282
SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT10.1% (25)34.4% (85)19.8% (49)19.4% (48)16.2% (40)247
SOMEWHAT UNIMPORTANT6.9% (13)19.0% (36)26.5% (50)27.5% (52)20.1% (38)189
VERY UNIMPORTANT2.2% (5)17.9% (40)11.7% (26)15.2% (34)52.9% (118)223
REFUSED/NO OPINION6.6% (10)10.5% (16)30.3% (46)29.6% (45)23.0% (35)152
answered question307
skipped question9

11. Should the General Assembly enact a law allowing the City of Philadelphia School District to increase cigarette taxes by $2.00 per pack on cigarettes sold withing the city limits to help fund city schools?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

YES48.7%151
NO40.6%126
REFUSED/NO OPINION10.6%33
Other:

  • seems silly people will buy out of city/smoking very bad for everyone
  • It's a regressive tax. Up the state income tax a little.
  • start with $1
  • $1.00 per pack
  • Let them; it's a ridiculous solution.
  • Anything to encourage people to quit smoking.
  • city SD wastes too much money!!
  • Or be more proficient at running the schools
8
Answered question310
Skipped question6

12. What is the biggest problem confronting your business today?


Response

Count

Responses:

  • Government intervention and regulations
  • increased cost of operations due to over regulation by all levels of government, and the mistaken idea that business have excess financial resources to continually comply with ever increasing government mandates which simply is not true. Compliance issues have a crippling effect on small to medium businesses.
  • Excessive taxes at all levels
  • GOVERNMENT
  • Taxes
  • Government intervention higher taxes to support MORE government!
  • Over reaching Government regulation and actions causing increased overhead costs. After the Affordable act has passed our health insurance cost to provide insurance has sky rocketed, and our plan has and continues to meet the terms of the Act. Many regulations continue to cost businesses and the public excessive monies for regulations that do little to meet the goals for which they were designed. The quality of applicants relating to their educational skills continue to deteriorate. With the amount of monies being spent on education, basic math and learning skills continue to deteriorate. Many times we as a business community are saddled with providing basic educational skills to employees
  • Too much interference from local government.
  • Government Regulation
  • ACA
  • Getting educated employess
  • qualified people
  • Health insurance
  • lack of spending on defense of the country
  • Taxes are way to high...and government regulations are exponentially increasing my costs to do business in PA.
  • Too much government red tape and medling in the private sector
  • economy
  • Finding qualified employees
  • Work ethic
  • High taxes. School tax should be eliminated and a consumption tax replace it
  • Govt bureaucracy. Energy costs.
  • Government regulations and property taxes.
  • Government Regulation
  • The high cost of all insurances, especially health insurance.
  • Property Taxes - Need to do away with school tax and either raise the sales tax or state income tax to fund schools as well as pension reform
  • Insurance (health, liab, fire, workmans comp, etc) costs and annual increases.
  • Local government Government micromanagement
  • Too much gov't. Elected officials unproductive. No accountability. Wasteful spending. Gov't needs to be run like an effective business.
  • taxes, taxes and more taxes never ending
  • high energy costs
  • THE POOR STATE OF THE ECONOMY, AND THE OVER-REGULATION BY GOVERNMENT
  • A lack interest in the possibilities of e-books and documents. This is a small e publishing house and it has one employee, me. It will soon be out of business because I have cancer and no one to take over
  • DOT
  • TAXES !!
  • state and federal regulations
  • Taxes unknown
  • Finding reliable help
  • Lack of consumers due to the impact of a stressed economy as well as the drain of discretionary dollars caused by increased insurance exspenses
  • Lack of business.
  • Trying to survive all the rules and regulations!
  • too few qualified workers
  • Government interference, paperwork, mandates.
  • Internet-only stores are selling products for way less than what our brick and mortar stores can. It is making it very difficult to stay in business and makes it impossible to think of hiring.
  • goverment regulations
  • Not being able to afford hiring an employee.
  • customer cannot get loans to purchase
  • Over regulation by the DEP and some local municipalities and government in general.
  • Finding qualified help - machinists
  • Government
  • Health and business insurancr
270
Answered question270
Skipped question46

13. If the election for Governor of Pennsylvania were held today would you vote for Republican Tom Corbett or Democrat Tom Wolf?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

TOM CORBETT65.4%204
TOM WOLF19.6%61
REFUSED/NO OPINION15.1%47
Answered question312
Skipped question4

14. Regardless of your personal choice, who do you EXPECT will win the election for Governor of Pennsylvania: Republican Tom Corbett or Democrat Tom Wolf?


Response

Percent

Response

Count

TOM CORBETT29.4%92
TOM WOLF53.0%166
REFUSED/NO OPINION17.6%55
Answered question313
Skipped question3

Section II: Business Climate

15. 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

Better19.5%59
Same61.4%186
Worse18.5%56
No Opinion0.7%2
Answered question303
Skipped question13

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


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Better16.3%49
Same55.5%167
Worse26.9%81
No Opinion1.3%4
Answered question301
Skipped question15

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


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Higher20.2%61
Same55.3%167
Lower23.5%71
No Opinion1.0%3
Answered question302
Skipped question14

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


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Higher21.1%63
Same68.9%206
Lower8.7%26
No Opinion1.3%4
Answered question299
Skipped question17

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


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Increased35.5%108
Same38.8%118
Decreased24.3%74
No Opinion1.3%4
Answered question304
Skipped question12

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


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Increase31.9%96
Same52.5%158
Decrease13.3%40
No Opinion2.3%7
Answered question301
Skipped question15

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


PositiveNegativeNo OpinionRating

Count

President Barack Obama13.1% (40)84.6% (259)2.3% (7)306
Fed Chairman Janet Yellen28.3% (86)38.2% (116)33.6% (102)304
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey50.8% (154)24.4% (74)24.8% (75)303
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.20.6% (63)59.5% (182)19.9% (61)306
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew7.9% (24)41.9% (127)50.2% (152)303
Governor Tom Corbett51.6% (158)34.6% (106)13.7% (42)306
Attorney General Kathleen Kane15.6% (47)48.7% (147)35.8% (108)302
Auditor General Eugene Depasquale11.2% (34)19.7% (60)69.1% (210)304
State Treasurer Rob McCord16.5% (50)20.5% (62)63.0% (191)303
Answered question306
Skipped question10

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


PositiveNegativeNo OpinionRating

Count

United States Senate6.6% (20)89.1% (271)4.3% (13)304
United States House of Representatives21.6% (66)71.9% (220)6.5% (20)306
Pennsylvania Senate18.8% (57)63.2% (192)18.1% (55)304
Pennsylvania House of Representatives23.1% (70)61.7% (187)15.2% (46)303
Answered question306
Skipped question10

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


Response

Percent

Response

Count

OWNER69.3%212
CEO/COO/CFO23.9%73
STATE MANAGER0.3%1
LOCAL MANAGER3.6%11
NO ANSWER/REFUSED1.0%3
Other:
  • Office manager
  • independent sales rep
  • International Manager
  • Consultant
  • Admin. Asst.
  • Former President Presently Board of Directors Member
2.0%6
Answered question306
Skipped question10

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


Response

Percent

Response

Count

Northwest PA14.1%43
Southwest PA18.4%56
Northcentral PA5.6%17
Altoona/Johnstown1.3%4
Southcentral/Harrisburg17.4%53
Southeastern PA26.6%81
Lehigh Valley5.9%18
Northeastern PA10.8%33
Answered question305
Skipped question11

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


Response

Count

Responses:

  • My business is 30 years old. I went through the tough economic times of building the business, to a point where it was comfortable financially, and now feel like I am starting over because the business atmosphere in which I work is terrible.
  • Ugly
  • No one seems to care about job creation or sustaining existing business.
  • I feel that businesses continue to be burdened with overbearing regulations, and programs that are quickly enacted by our state and federal government to pacify the general population whenever something occurs in the news. Many times the bills and laws passed after such incidents are a knee jerk reaction with the premise of "fixing the hot issue" at the time but down the road is ignored or selectively enforced. The associated consequences place a huge paper work and management burden on businesses. The same is true for the poorly educated applicants we have applying for positions within the business community. Many businesses have open positions unable to be filled by qualified applicants. The basic skills that are being brought to business community are severally lacking. Many times we as businesses are also trying to teach basic life skills to our employees (such as Personal financial and planning skills - example Retirement planning, budgeting, financial planning etc.) It is sad that the basics are not being addressed, and many times we as business leaders are wondering how some of these candidates are able to even graduate from high school. There are many potential employment opportunities available in Pennsylvania but the lack of qualified people sometimes hold back business growth. The biggest complaints I hear from other business owners are the lack of skills and a deteriorating work ethic.
  • Lower corporate taxes will help the economy. Education in the Philly area must be improved, Charter schools must be regulated better. Shale extraction must be taxed to fund our schools.
  • We need to actract more business.
  • Lower taxes on all businesses to promote growth and expansion....then reduce the size and cost of the PA legislature by 50 percent....
  • Quit solving Pa's problems like lawyers, clergy and union officials and start solving them like small business owners!
  • Reduce taxes and streamline regulations for businesses
  • Lower corporate and workers comp taxes. Stop all forms fraud, by cracking down.
  • Get rid of prevailing wage.
  • State pension reform had to be eliminated
  • Why anyone does business in this state or any other is beyond me. This country, as a whole, is lousy at best for small business. We've been in business for 151 years and I see the end. I've had enough!
  • when talking about small companies i think our representatives should think about the ones under 25 employees. and help them grow by giving tax breaks to them.
  • Pennsylvania now has the second highest fuel tax rate in our nation. Our roads are consistently ranked with the worst in our country. Who is getting rich? Where is all the money going?
  • Making Pennsylvania more business friendly the goal.
  • Unfair taxation of products that are tobacco related. A fine case of taxation without representation. Our government will allow jobs to be shipped to other countries and when they don't have enough money to support their own agenda, the first thing they want to do is raise taxes. The government is taxing us to death.......
  • The only way we are ever going to see our business climate improve is to have the legislature stop wasteful spending, end entitlement programs, reform pensions and stop endless/needless government regulation.
  • PA ranks as one of the lowest for being business friendly and the highest for corporate income tax
  • Question 10 would not allow you to enter what you wanted to it was flawed!
  • Pennsylvania must enact strict Pension Reform and put more effort into curbing Govt. spending especially for Govt. employees. I refuse to have my taxes raised to pay for Govt. employees having extravagant "benefits". They work for us...we do not work for them !!
  • Republicans had control and still fail to make improvements to PA business and general economy of the state. Too much catering to unions and big money. Only fear of Wolf is that things will bet worse a lot faster than current administration.
  • While I indicated I think there should be an extraction tax, it should not discourage either exploration or extraction.
  • I WANT ALL GOVERNMENT TO GET OUT OF THE WAY OF BUSINESS!
  • No new taxes, and must get a hold on state and local pensions
  • It is time for tax payer supported employees to begin feeling the same struggles main street has felt since this recession started in 2008.
  • Try to keep regulations to a minimum. Get out of the way and let business do what they do best, create jobs.
  • Need to get manufacturing jobs back and people working again to generate growth revenues
  • The PA government (house senate, gov) are all in republican hands, and they cannot convert the Liquor Control Board to private ownership. As the Union Bosses say" They will RENT A REPUBLICAN" until they can "BUY A DEMOCRAT". We need a change in the PA senate composition, and this means replacing several Republicans who are being controlled by Union money.
  • Some of my builder/contractor customers are slowing down - hope it's not an omen
  • CORBETT is TOO SOFT on GOVT UNIONS! Too SOFT ON D.E.P. Too Soft on Bureuacrats THE authority of DEP Dept of AG. must be rolled back
  • Health insurance will be the death of many businesses.
  • Better than most
  • much better than maryland!
  • Without pension reform this state is doomed.
  • one thing i have learned in business is that you can not raise your prices(taxes) to over come bad business practices. why is the state aloud to
  • Need to let the oil and gas companies alone. We work in this industry and they are not going to pay Wolf's extraction tax unless regulations are eased. We also work in Ohio and they get the tax but their regs are less cumbersome. The bigges example is te handling of waste water by using injection wells.Representative Shuster visited our faciliy in August and spoke to our employees. He pointed out that Pa business taxes are the highest in the country. let us alone to run our businesses. We had back to back fuel tax audit and sals tax audit. Ridiculous.Get consistent on regs. I can' even burn an envelope. My neighbor across the street burns fertilizer bags and pharmeceutical bags..go figure.
  • Washington is broken.spending out of control.congress no loner goes to serve.they go to cash in.white house leadership is a joke.
  • we need term limits so politicians make the right decisions instead of decisions to keep themselves in office
  • Without reductions in all future public sector pensions and making PA a Right to Work State we cannot rebuild Pennsylvania for our next generation.
  • Pennsylvania is becoming an increasingly hostile climate for small businesses. I do not foresee this getting any better, only worse as time goes on. Small businesses are being regulated out of business very quickly. We who attempt to run our small businesses according to all of the applicable laws are getting run into the ground by all of the "businesses" that refuse to follow the laws that are in place, laws that are rarely enforced except when an income can be generated for the state from by regulating legitimate businesses and ignoring illegitimate businesses.
  • Construction business is stagnate - little building going on to help the average contractor, homeowner that have desire to build still can not obtain loans.
  • Commonwealth's procurement process hinders the growth and has negative impacts on business climates.
  • the survey does not work correctly for question # 10, does not allow for same importance level for different actions.
  • Our best chance at success is to not participate in Obama Care, NOT TAX DRILLING, and get rid of PA onerous regulations in every part of life.
  • Pension, Tort, and Workers Comp Reform must take place. Government needs to accomplish things, and not just suck dry taxpayer funding.
  • Pension reform should be the top priority. It is appalling that it has not been addressed.
  • Above all else we need to tax internet sales. Our business climate would improve dramatically and the budget would instantly be balanced. Pennsylvania needs to work on improving business conditions in the northern tier counties. When the gas well drillers leave we'll be back to where we were up there. No taxes for the first ten years would be best to help new business come to that area
  • unemployment tax is unfair, anyone can collect it, employee should pay more, it should be optional choice. Too much fraud in workers compensation as well.
  • PA should do more to retain life sciences industry which it is losing to Massachusetts
82
Answered question82
Skipped question234