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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

Spring 2015 Keystone Business Climate Survey

Response Summary


by Lincoln Institute
 

Total Started Survey: 351

Total Finished Survey: 351  (100.0%)

Section I: Issues

1. Generally speaking, do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of Governor Tom Wolf's proposed state budget?


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY APPROVE5.99%20
SOMEWHAT APPROVE11.68%%39
SOMEWHAT DISAPPROVE18.26%61
STRONGLY DISAPPROVE59.88%200
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.19%14
Anwered 334
Skipped 2
Total 334

2. Do you think Governor Wolf's proposed state budget will IMPROVE or HARM Pennsylvania's overall business climate.


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE4.18%14
SOMEWHAT IMPROVE10.75%36
SOMEWHAT HARM23.58%79
SIGNIFICANTLY HARM56.12%188
REFUSED/NO OPINION5.37%18
Answered: 335
Skipped: 1
Total 335

3. Given what you currently know about Governor Wolf's proposed changes in Pennsylvania's tax structure, do you think YOUR business will pay HIGHER or LOWER taxes should the changes be enacted into law?


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER TAXES34.83%116
SOMEWHAT HIGHER TAXES36.34%121
ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF TAXES13.21%44
SOMEWHAT LOWER TAXES2.70%9
SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER TAXES0.30%1
DON'T HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION YET11.71%39
REFUSED/NO OPINION0.90%3
Answered: 333
Skipped: 3
Total333

4. Do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of Governor Tom Wolf's plan to cut the Corporate Net Income Tax and to eliminate the Capital Stock Franchise Tax, but make other changes to tax laws that would result in a net increase of tax revenue from Pennsylvania business?


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY APPROVE6.31%21
SOMEWHAT APPROVE18.92%63
SOMEWHAT DISAPPROVE26.73%89
STRONGLY DISAPPROVE35.14%117
REFUSED/NO OPINION12.91%43
Answered: 333
Skipped: 3
Total333

5. Do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of Governor Tom Wolf's proposal to increase the state sales tax from 6% to 6.6% and to apply the state sales tax to a wide array of products and services not current subject to sales tax?


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY APPROVE5.11%17
SOMEWHAT APPROVE18.92%63
SOMEWHAT DISAPPROVE14.41%48
STRONGLY DISAPPROVE60.36%201
REFUSED/NO OPINION1.20%4
Answered: 333
Skipped: 3
Total 333

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

YES45.71%149
NO48.77%159
REFUSED/NO OPINION5.52%18
Answered: 326
Skipped: 10
Total Respondents:326

7. Do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of Governor Wolf's proposal to increase the state's personal income tax from 3.07% to 3.7%?


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

STRONGLY APPROVE4.50%15
SOMEWHAT APPROVE12.01%40
SOMEWHAT DISAPPROVE13.21%44
STRONGLY DISAPPROVE69.67%232
REFUSED/NO OPINION0.60%2
Answered:333
Skipped:3
Total333

8. Under the Wolf tax plan the state would pay a larger share of public education costs (with revenue from a higher and broader sales tax) thus allowing local districts to decrease property taxes. Do you think this will result in:


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

A SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION OF PROPERTY TAXES1.49%5
A SLIGHT REDUCTION OF PROPERTY TAXES13.73%46
A TEMPORARY DROP IN PROPERTY TAXES WHICH WILL THEN RISE AGAIN69.25%232
HIGHER PROPERTY TAXES14.33%48
REFUSED/NO OPINION1.19%4
Answered:335
Skipped:1
Total335

9. Overall, Governor Wolf has proposed a state budget that would add $4.6 billion in increased spending to the state's current $29.4 billion budget. Do you think that spending increase is:


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

TOO HIGH83.28%279
ABOUT RIGHT11.64%39
TOO LOW1.19%4
REFUSED/NO OPINION3.88%13
Answered:335
Skipped:1
Total335

10. In your industry/business, what is the greatest barrier to job creation? (Check all that apply.)


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS62.42%196
CORPORATE TAXATION35.67%112
CONSUMER DEMAND26.43%83
AVAILABILITY OF CREDIT12.74%40
NATIONAL ECONOMIC FACTORS43.63%137
REFUSED/NO OPINION4.46%14
Answered:314
Skipped:22
Total Respondents:314

11. Which job groups are the most challenging to you in terms of recruitment and/or retention:(Check all that apply)


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

SENIOR MANAGEMENT3.92%13
HIGH POTENTIAL MIDDLE MANAGERS12.35%41
PROFESSIONAL (NON MANAGEMENT) STAFF27.71%92
SKILLED PRODUCTION WORKERS38.86%129
EXPERIENCED (25 PLUS YEARS) WORKERS9.94%33
ENTRY LEVEL WORKS31.93%106
NONE12.95%43
REFUSED/NO OPINION7.23%24
Answered:332
Skipped:4
Total Respondents:332

12. Has your business implemented any of the following strategies to overcome recruitment and/or retention challenges? (Check all that apply.)


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

FILLING JOBS WITH EXISTING STAFF THAT LACK JOB SKILLS BUT HAVE POTENTIAL33.44%107
FOCUS ON EXISTING STAFF RETENTION IN JOBS WHERE RETENTION IS DIFFICULT26.56%85
FOCUS ON PROVIDING EXISTING STAFF ADDITIONAL TRAINING/DEVELOPMENT40.31%129
ADJUSTING PAY RANGES UPWARD40.94%131
BROADENING OUR CANDIDATE SEARCH OUTSIDE OUR LOCAL REGION17.19%55
STARTING/INCREASING USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR RECRUITING19.06%61
INCREASING STARTING SALARIES26.25%84
INCREASING/ENHANCING BENEFIT PACKAGES18.75%60
PARTNERING WITH EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS TO TO CREATE A SKILL-BASED CURRICULUM11.88%38
NO STRATEGIES ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED21.25%68
REFUSED/NO OPINION7.81%25
Answered:320
Skipped:16
Total Respondents:320

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


Showing 265 responses

  • ECONOMY
  • natural gas regulation
  • Ignorance of the benefits through Tobacco Harm Reduction devices. The media continues to blast incorrect garble without correct tangible evidence to back up their biased claims. Follow the money, it a news source is bashing these life saving devices, they more often than not, are financed by pig pharma of tobacco. There is no need for a sin tax on advanced personal vaporizers when they are providing a health benefit through Tobacco Harm Reduction.
  • Too many regulations
  • obama care
  • Taxation
  • The government's misunderstanding about what tobacco harm reduction(THR) products. How THR will save people's lives, reduce harmful tobacco consumption, and save billions of dollars in health care.
  • Regulation Taxation
  • The Federal Government's war on the coal industry.
  • A 40% excise tax on e-cigarette products would put me out of business.
  • The uncertainty of the future. Not knowing what regulations or taxes will be approved over the next 2 years definitely makes me feel uncomfortable about expanding or hiring any employees.
  • Unnecessary taxes being held over our heads.
  • Unknown future
  • Government regulation and excessive taxation.
  • Governor Wolf's proposed attack on the vapor products industry would bankrupt all 150-200 small vapor products businesses in PA. The 40% OTP tax would drive virtually every consumer in PA to out of state online retailers who don't have to pay the 40% tax, and there are literally thousands of such retailers. Also, the consumers that use these products are primarily lower income, and working class, and they should not have to pay a tax penalty for trying to smoke less cigarettes. The 40% tax, or ANY tax beyond sales tax on these products is ridiculous on it's face.
  • federal and state taxation on the electronic cigarette industry. federal and state regulation on the electronic cigarette industry.
  • have the government intervention with regulations fees and taxes
  • THE GOVERNMENT
  • staffing/taxes/regulations
  • Customers
  • taxes
  • the weather
  • Minimum wage too high and gov regs. Young people want too much money and don't want to farm.
  • Our government, local and federal.
  • dependable employees.
  • unskilled workers want to be paid same as seasoned workers and do not have much of a work ethic
  • Governor Wolf
  • Minimiun Wage Increase
  • Taxes
  • Outrages environmental restrictions
  • Getting money to upgrade our equipment. Without it this company may not last until the end of the year.
  • Consolidation of the market we serve.
  • Taxes
  • Finding new customers
  • Lack of people who want to work. Government programs pay people to stay home and not work.
  • Finding qualified worker (people that really do know our trade)
  • Competition from internet sales
  • Petty regulations and time-consuming paperwork
  • The Department of Environmental Protection Regulations
  • Government Regulations.....EPA resulting in high energy costs, Property taxes
  • Low confidence in the government along with manufacturing job loss due to out sourcing
  • EPA CARB
  • Government is not supportive of small business. Regulations, taxes, codes, increasing costs all dictate the small business. Business owners feel like a puppet on a string dancing to the beat of what the government decides is right.
  • Outstanding balances
  • Government over-regulation and taxation.
  • Slow economic growth
  • government intrusion and taxes
  • CHINA
  • Too many taxes
  • Recruiting and retaining skilled staff.
  • The general economic status of everyday people. No extra spending money equals no business for us.
  • FINDING QUALIFIED WORKERS.
  • TAXES, TAXES and TAXES
  • government overreach
  • Anti growth policy
  • Competing with government sponsored entitlement programs. Entry level workers sacrifice welfare, Medicaid, food assistance etc by entering the workforce. It is safer to stay on the government payroll than enter the workforce.
  • Taxes, Healthcare
  • Government paperwork.
  • High US Dollar
  • Too many government regulations for everyone. Too many freebies, causing no one wanting to work, just looking for a free ride
  • people that don't pay their bills then try to collect on them the court system does nothing for the small businessman,high cost of health care that as an owner i'm taxed on as income,the fact that whenever anyone needs more spending money they always turn to small business as they know we work the hardest and are an endless supply of money for the government.
  • Skilled workers.
  • RESTRICTIONS AND REGULATIONS ON TOP OF OVERBURDENING RESTRICTIONS AND REGULATIONS
  • Government regulation of the coal industry.
  • High taxes and insurance costs
  • THE PUBLIC HAVING MONEY. EVERY CUSTOMER SAYS HOW THEY ARE BROKE AND CAN'T AFFORD ANYTHING.
  • The biggest problem for my business is trucking costs and availability of trucking. Trucking companies are reluctant to haul nursery products because of the amount of time it takes to load and unload product is time consuming. the few hours the driver is sleeping in the cab while the trailer is loaded or unloaded cuts into the driving time aloud. Also the licences,registration,and other driver requirements have doubled the rates being charged for freight hauling.
  • Workers comp. too high Unemployment insurance too high
  • Government regulations
  • A Stagnate Economy
  • Being taxed by every state, county, boro and twp we work in. Too much paper work for anything government related Too many regulations and not enough incentives. Employee's with poor work ethic.We have way to much Government interfering in business.
  • Leadership in Washington and Harrisburg that are woefully ignorant, many by choice, of a free market economy and their propagation of a "everyone is a victim", dependency society.
  • Enforcement agencies don't communicate with each other. One entity makes the rules, one enforces them, but when confronted, they don't have an answer for you.
  • Finding good entry level employees
  • high costs of doing business
  • Government regulations we are required to create policies and procedures to comply with.
  • Over regulation within a difficult business environment.
  • Government Regulations
  • Healthcare cost!!!!!
  • Over taxation and a business unfriendly state laws... and just climate in general ... why do states like Texas,,, have businesses moving into their state. where Pennsylvania does not.... Tax breaks are given to large corperations but not to small businesses for expansion... State sales tax office is against small business... they do not educate businesses on what is taxable and what is not.... yet expect the revenue to flow. simply educating local small business would increase tax money flow also tax breaks to big business to
  • Sales
  • Increased customer demand to look at so many products. Customer desire to control costs
  • insurance cost.. taxes..
  • Slow payments by customers
  • Managing increasingly complex business functions in the face of aggressive government over reach.
  • Taxes Gov Regulations
  • obama care -- Gov. regulations,local-state-federal
  • Staying under 50 employees ie. Obamacare
  • Declining sales volume
  • overall cost of business
  • Federal regulations
  • government interference
  • Qualified workers
  • Health Insurance
  • Low milk prices
  • Pennsylvania is no longer business friendly. EPA mandates are out of hand. And the ACA is the biggest crock ever pushed on us in my lifetime. Therefore another small business is about to go the way of the Dodo bird. I am done dealing all the horseshit regulation.
  • industrial development is needed. not just commercial and white collar
  • Lack of skilled help and consumers that are unwilling to pay for higher quality work
  • Obama is killing the coal-fired power plants in the US and anywhere else that he can.
  • Finding qualified workers.
  • Insurance
  • Increased government intervention at all levels creating increased costs and uncertainty about the future
  • Uneducated voters that PUT THESE TAX AND SPENT PEOPLE IN OFFICE!
  • taxes
  • ACA fiasco, excessive taxation.
  • unlevel playing field because of competitors who do not follow the law
  • Gov't Regulation! Mandates! Building Code Cost/Regulation. HIGH RealEstate Taxes.
  • Government!!!!
  • Too much taxation
  • Taxes and regulations
  • Getting the right skilled workers
  • Regulations
  • Skilled. Labor
  • Hiring your people!
  • Getting more business/increasing sales
  • LACK OF QUALIFIED APPLICANTS
  • Lack of Buying Customers
  • Rising costs,including regulations and taxes that in my business can"t be passed to my customers.
  • SWIF. State Workers Insurance Fund
  • Taxes goverment over regulation
  • OUTSOURCING TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES
  • Out of control Govt. spending/taxation.
  • Obama and a liberal progressive government that is inhibiting the economy and reducing corporate machinery sales.
  • Finding young people who want to learn a trade.
  • city,state+federal ;taxes,new licenses+bogas fines.
  • Government regulation and out of sight insurance and medical costs
  • GOVERNMENT IGNORANCE OF TRADE,COST OF TRAINING APPRENTICES,NO ONE WANTS TO WORK WHEN EVERTHING IS FREE,GOVERNMENT DEPENDANCIES,LACK OF SKILLED TRAINERS IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS(NO EXPERIENCE)(NO HANDS ON EXPERIENCE), LOCAL ZONING LAWS REGULATIONS. ETC.
  • Stability and belief in the morals and values that made our country great.
  • Competition.
  • customer disposal income due to economic factors in order to sell financial services deeper
  • Employees lack of motivation
  • Actually, minimal problems. We have been busy since last year and trying to catch up.
  • Scammers being allowed to advertise in yellow books and search engines. Doing a bait and switch, ripping consumers off.
  • Increased cost to do business and increased government regulation. These factors affect all private entities in the state, and this cause all businesses to remain in a negative or no growth downward spiral. Meanwile the public sector has increased budgets; higher salaries at the detriment of non-public employee families.
  • Adequately trained and motivated employees
  • Cannot hire employees.
  • Price of products
  • state of pa antiquated government
  • goverment welfare, rules, taxes, keep your day job lots of people depending on you to keep working and paying taxes so the can sit at home with free heallth care, ebt, housing, car expenses, cell phones, medical, etc.
  • increased insurance costs taxes
  • excessive taxes and regulations
  • Healthcare
  • Government regulations
  • Sluggish economy not creating enough work.
  • Quality of job candidates.
  • Too much government control. Let free enterprise work.
  • Taxes and regulations
  • The National Economy.
  • Payroll taxes and the ever growing fear of Minimum Wage increases.
  • Slow economy
  • Too much government
  • consumer demand for discretional spending
  • The federal government targeted engineering of society - too many of our citizens do not work, nor do they want to work, because government programming has enabled a leisurely lifestyle.
  • Uncertainty in all sectors- health insurance costs, economy fluctuations, hiring new employees that may need to be laid off, quickly changing regulations and codes. We have no confidence that what we plan for now won't be turned on its head tomorrow by the actions of the government.
  • Sales
  • Finding qualified personnel to expand in other areas of the country.
  • Gov't regulations
  • Poor transportation infrastructure (roads, light rail, air), high corporate and personal taxes, lack of local demand, lack of local talent.
  • health care government regulations taxes
  • Govt regulation I am a small hospice owner. Last year we barely made it if his plans go through to tax diapers and tax our services it could be enough to push ur over the edge and have to close making 32 people lose their jobs
  • Government, taxes, public unions, public pensions, illegal immigration, Communist control of government.
  • Finding skilled personnel and also finding personnel with the educational and learning skills that are trainable.
  • Government regulations
  • Market volatility. We are a manufacturing company with a 50/50 split between defense and commercial products and neither sector has had consistent behavior for ~5 years.
  • Government overreach and a hostile employer environment created by government.
  • The economy
  • Taxes and over regulation.
  • Regulation and taxes. Followed closely by finding honest people who will show up for work.
  • threat of new taxes, time to do paperwork - I run a VERY small business and compliance costs are significant.
  • Anti business mantra from current administration and lack of USA energy policy.
  • The potential tax on Architectural Services-we are too close to Ohio and West Virginia and we would lose market share to them if we have to add 7% tax to our fees.
  • health costs
  • High taxes, over regulation, and lack of good sales people.
  • Media created solutions that do not work. Lack of funds to do the job right.
  • too much bs
  • Low cost imports.
  • Clients are not feeling wealthy
  • Thank you for allowing BRT to participate in this survery! Please feel free to call Dan at 610-xxx-xxxx if you need any clarification on the below points. 1)Bank financing. Banks continue to communicate that they are overwhelmed with regulations which restrict their ability to provide funding for job creation and expansion. Our company has never missed a payment, however if your ratio's do not meet the new higher requirements, banks are not willing to refinance and other banks will not consider financing which equates to being stuck with high rates and high monthly payments. 2)Workers compensation - Attorney's focus on getting high settlements for workers who get injured or claim to be injured. Many of these claims are fraudulent and/or an injury occurred due to employee not following company policies. These high settlements and extended periods of time off work create a loss run for employer which continues to push up the cost of workers compensation insurance every year. PA needs to have specific guidelines and ceilings for compensating an injured worker. 3) Health Insurance premiums continue to go up which takes dollars away from job creation.
  • Lack of confidence. Federal State agenda's are too general for business to feel comfortable to invest in their own growth.
  • Finding quality employees
  • Lack of work
  • Goverment
  • Government regulations Finding skilled computer techs and programmers
  • Stagnant growth in demand for our services. Nothing that Wolf or PA can do to address it, it's just where we are in our industry - which is a mature to declining industry. And trying to manage costs to ensure some level of profitability.
  • China imports
  • competition
  • Lack of sales growth.
  • taxation
  • Taxes,
  • The lack of stability in the economy in general. More jobs are needed.
  • GENERAL INTEREST IN THE OPERATION OF THE LARGEST DATABASE IN THE RETAIL OPERATION.
  • Communists in the White House now in the State House
  • Slow economy! Too much regulation, high taxes, too much government!
  • Reduced demand
  • Finding properly trained and motivated new hires.
  • sales tax on clothing and shoes
  • The economy.
  • National and local organizations that have monopolies on the market.
  • The poor business climate of Pennsylvania--we do not actively try to adjust regulations to attract new businesses to the state
  • As a Vietnam War Veteran owned Small Business, there does not appear to be favorable accessible to business through the Commonwealth unless one is politically connected.
  • Combined high taxation rates including, local, state income, state sales tax, use tax, federal tax rates, capitol gains taxation and estate taxes. Also the unsustainable increase in healthcare insurance costs. It is killing hiring and expansion if a company wants to provide health insurance.
  • Funding - we are a nonprofit.
  • Lack of qualified employees and flat reimbursements.
  • affordable light industrial space in our geographical area that is in our 2,500 to 5,000 square foot need and the lack of assistance by the state for small business with capital funding for expansion
  • Shortage of electrical and mechanical engineering professionals with experience in our industry.
  • Taxes
  • Lack of quality / skilled workers High taxes
  • People with good work ethic and government control
  • national economic growth
  • Regulations, Lawyers who take any case hoping you will just give up instead of fighting because of the cost to litigate is ridiculous.
  • The Economy and Big Government
  • People don't want to spend money like they used to... Very hard. Credit is still tight.
  • Healthcare
  • getting the younger generation to want to work and not just get a job
  • Tax structure that is focused on corporate income and tends to incentivize corporate flight.
  • Property taxes
  • obama's anti business practices
  • Skilled labor
  • Time
  • If the sales tax goes into effect for services, I will either close my business or Move to another state.
  • LOCAL BUSINESS RELOCATING TO BUSINESS FRIENDLY STATES.... ANTI BUSINESS ATTITUDE OF GOVERMENT
  • Growth of healthcare expenses
  • The economy created by this criminal federal government
  • accelerating business softness in past 2 months
  • Unskilled seasonal labor competition from Canadian and out of state competitors. Our raw materials and products are heavy, so the fuel prices and the limits on highway and bridge weights are affecting my freight rates dramatically
  • Being lumped in with the Big Businesses on taxes, etc. Smaller, "mini" businesses should have different taxation structures.
  • Excessive government regulations intense competition from homecenter and unfair trade
  • Republican policies.
  • Entitlement culture
  • Finding people who want to work instead of drawing unemployment.
  • Competition from Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco for highly skilled and professional employees is our greatest challenge by far. We require a highly educated staff and compete in a high-tech 21st century industry. Pennsylvania has to focus on higher education, high-tech infrastructure, and a competitive quality of life to compete in a national/global economy.
  • We are a specialized construction business. We find that many candidates are lacking the skills needed for the open positions. The trades are no long labor intensive they require math and technical skills. we offer a wide array of training in house and through outside sources. We have had many people who can not pass the required training courses, even after sending them multiple times. The basic skills the candidates come to us with are lacking. Our industry provides excellent wages and benefits and a viable long term future for people interested in the trades. The issue is trying to obtained personnel with the learning skills that can be applied to grow in the industry. There is also a lack of initiative from people enter the work force to operate in industries which require non normal work hours or strange shifts even though the pay in such industries are higher then traditional industries. (We specialize in Highway, commercial and industrial pavement markings and pavement maintenance, traffic sign installation and manufacturing and traffic control device rental and set up.) I believe the trades have a bright future and not everyone needs to have a college degree to be successful. They do need to have the basic math , reading and writing skills which a 12 year education should provide, and a willingness to continue education and training from the employers and trade specific educational schooling.
  • price of supplies.
  • taxation state federal
  • Hyper Government regulation
  • Distractions. Having to deal with things that take time away from running the business (i.e. paperwork/administration, benefit plan assessments and implementation, etc.)
  • Finding customers that will fund long term contracts.
  • competitors using illegal immigrant Hispanic labor miss categorizing H2B visa labor, cheating labor rates on prevailing wage projects and generally running companies for cash in the underground economy.
  • Keeping up with technology, network security, and threats of increasing payroll related costs.
  • Commercial Industrial construction spending continues to lag the economy in our local region
  • lack of work
  • Staff recruitment and retention due to decreasing qualified and drug free candidates.
  • Demand for services exceeds capacity to provide services; finding effective ways to engage staff
  • Getting more people who can pay for my services. If the state increased it's size there would be more spending to go around.
  • Big business is cutting down on what they are buying because everything (especially gov't) is too unstable. If i were younger i would move my business out of Pennsylvania. I left Massachusetts for that reason and now Pa. is just as bad. Does not encourage business to stay here.
  • Cost of supplies.
  • The economy has been slow to recover. Stock market is not a good measure of local recovery.
  • Tax and spend Democrats
  • Diminishing customer base
  • Government Interference
  • Unstable economy causing lack of commitment of work.
  • Probably affordability for preventive legal work
  • Regulation and taxes
  • Competition from internet sales. Maintaining a fully staffed brick and mortar store makes it an increasing challenge to compete with extremely-low-overhead web sites.
  • Health care labor cost Software costs
  • Excessive regualtion
  • The cost of using and constantly updating technology. Clerical office based systems. Figuring out Social Media and is it for my company.
  • Every entity, Local, County, State, federal is raising fees and taxes with no respect for small business..Spending and borrowing without attacking the real problems from the lavish retirements is NOT addressed, so more taxes await. I think I will close my business if this continues. We just work harder and harder for less money and benefit. I am not the Government's slave!!!!
  • government intrusion and taxes and fees.
  • The uneasy economic climate created by out of control liberally controlled government. A federal government using executive action and rogue agencies to attack Americans through policy while circumventing the law. A president using executive action to detroy the futures of American citizens and reward criminals. Poor leadership, bad economic policy, the business stagnation created by juvenile government with no real leadership. Today's politicians are uncertain, self serving, corrupt, and criminal and it is killing business confidence in this country. And the fact that the Fed is pumping to keep stocks inflated - everyone knows that's a falsehood and a bubble just waiting to burst.
  • We spend too much time on compliance
  • PA anti business policies that are devisive and punitive to those who attempt to do business in this state. Our firm operates in 40 states, PA ic close to the worst.
  • The amount of regulation that continues to increase.
  • Increasing government regulations.
  • Test
Answered:255
Skipped:81

Section II: Business Climate

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

Better12.88%42
Same53.07%173
Worse32.52%106
No Opinion1.53%5
Answered: 326
Skipped: 10
Total326

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

Better12.31%40
Same39.69%129
Worse44.31%144
No Opinion3.69%12
Answered:325
Skipped:11
Total325

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

Higher16.00%52
Same64.62%210
Lower17.23%56
No Opinion2.15%7
Answered:325
Skipped:11
Total325

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

Higher18.13%58
Same66.56%213
Lower12.50%40
No Opinion2.81%9
Answered:320
Skipped:16
Total320

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

Increased26.85%87
Same41.05%133
Decreased31.17%101
No Opinion0.93%3
Answered:324
Skipped:12
Total324

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

Increase34.77%113
Same44.92%146
Decrease18.15%59
No Opinion2.15%7
Answered:325
Skipped:11
Total325

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


PositiveNegativeNo OpinionTotal
President Barack Obama10.12%

33

87.12%

284

2.76%

9

326

Fed Chairman Janet Yellen25.62%

82

40.63%

130

33.75%

108

320

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey50.16%

161

23.05%

74

26.79%

86

321

U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.13.31%43etd]64.09%

207

22.60%73

323

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew8.44%

27

43.13%

138

48.44%

155

320

Governor Tom Wolf14.51%

47

68.52%

222

16.98%

55

324

Attorney General Kathleen Kane7.12%

23

62.85%

203

30.03%

97

323

Auditor General Eugene Depasquale13.00%

42

21.67%

70

65.33%

211

323

Answered: 326
Skipped: 10

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


PositiveNegativeNo OpinionTotal
United States

Senate

11.46%

37

78.95%

255

9.60%

31

323

United States

House of Representatives

19.81%

64

71.52%

231

8.67%

28

323

Pennsylvania

Senate

25.00%

81

56.48%

183

18.52%

60

324

Pennsylvania

House of Representatives

27.78%

90

55.56%

180

16.67%

54

324

Answered: 324
Skipped: 12
Total 324

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

OWNER82.52%269
CEO/COO/CFO14.42%47
STATE MANAGER0.31%1
LOCAL MANAGER0.61%2
NO ANSWER/REFUSED0.61%2
Other (specified)

  • chief cook and bottle washer
  • partner
  • VP Sales
  • Chairman
  • Retired
1.53%5
Answered:326
Skipped: 10
Total326

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


Answer ChoicesResponse

Percent

Response

Count

Northwest PA9.01%29
Southwest PA18.32%59
Northcentral PA8.39%27
Altoona/Johnstown4.04%13
Southcentral/Harrisburg18.01%58
Southeastern PA27.02%87
Lehigh Valley4.04%13
Northeastern PA11.18%36
Answered:322
Skipped:14
Total322

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


90 responses:

  • our governor will not approach the real fiscal problems-pension benefits. Increases in taxes will hinder business and slow the economy. More spending is not the solution
  • get off the dime, lower taxes to bring in new business and allow the current businesses in Pa to grow.
  • not sure why the state(s) would be punishing the people in our industry as well as our consumers who do vote as well. Newer industries are not to be feared and they are not to be squeezed into existing industries...they are their own industry!
  • I believe that Governor Wolf's tax bill makes no sense for anybody. Cutting property taxes is a smoke screen for raising income tax, sales tax and applying tax to items that are currently l exempt from sales tax. All while cutting corporate taxes. If the 40% tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products is implemented, it will close down my business. The state will no longer collect any sales tax from it or the second shop that I was planning on opening. The $20,000 a year that I collect an pay in sales tax will be done. AS well as the same amount that could be collected at the next shop. I do not feel comfortable opening another store in this climate of excessive taxation. My employees would lose their jobs. Two of them are college students at Pen State who need this money for school. The others will not have jobs to be able to pay income tax or put back into their community by frequenting other local businesses. Losing $40,000 a year in sales tax collection from one business does not make sense. This bill would put me out of business and the state gets nothing.
  • Hopefully Gov Wolf can recover from his catastrophic budget proposal, and govern effectively for the balance of his tenure.
  • tom wolf's plan will destroy PA small business
  • Get the govenment off our backs at all levels, LOCAL, STATE and FEDERAL Do you wonder why jobs go to China??? Its not brain surgery to figure out
  • incentives to bring new business back to pa. in particular manafacturing business.
  • Gov't needs to get out of the way so we folks can get to work. Open PA up to Marcellus shale drilling with a welcome mat. Make PA the MOST business friendly state and be "the one to beat" on the east coast utilizing our I-80 and turnpike corridors (fix 'em up first) and keep your dang fingers out of the general fund.
  • Really bad
  • There are no new businesses starting. No one can pay the taxes to start a small business in today's climate. Small business owners that have been around for 10 years plus are scared and barely holding on hoping for status quo until a republican president is elected.
  • As a community impacted by the Marcellus industry, I feel that the impact fee is a much better plan than the new tax on natural gas that is being proposed. The $$ should stay in the area impacted by the industry, not the cities south of us!!!!
  • Government, but most importantly -VOTERS - need to understand that corporations and businesses in general don't pay taxes; they just pass those costs on to the consumer. Put simply, taxing businesses in nothing more than a hidden consumer tax. Key word: HIDDEN.
  • Very slow start to the year
  • Need to focus on justifying entitlements. The savings could be applied to reducing property taxes. Entitlements should not be a career with retirement. Focus should be placed on job training. The State should be managed like the households within it, live within your means !!
  • why does everyone have their hands in my pockets when it comes to finance something
  • Question number 5 didn't have an answer option that it should. Pass the tax bill at 7% so we can eliminate the school tax and help everyone out alittle here. The argument I repeatedly hear is it would be an unfair burden on the poor. Well I'm poor and I know poor people and that is nonsense!
  • The government needs to do more to promote small business
  • This state is its own worst enemy for business climate due to too many municipality taxes
  • Not a business friendly sate .... if i had a choice I would move my current business to a neighboring business friendly state!
  • no; comment
  • MUST improve PA's competitive position and support private enterprise by eliminating impediments. Energy production support, health cost and regulatory containment and support of employee's capabilities.
  • god help us
  • If laws would stay the same long term stratigies could be but in place Let companies make their own rules for benefits
  • 1. Need to maintain electric generation using these fuels: coal, gas, hydro, nuclear. Wind and large solar farms should not be built using any government monies (subsidies, tax credits or the like). 2. Need to convert the alcoholic beverage stores to private ownership. 3. Need to keep taxes as low as possible, and the state senate and house can do that if they want to do so.
  • We've been sold down the river. I'm done with being a business owner in PA. Within a year my business will be closed and my family moved out of this state of stupidity. We can do better than this, but politicians in DC and Harrisburg have completely gone off the rails. The party's over and I'm moving on before we become like New Jersey and charge folks an exit tax
  • I think improved business climate is directly related to government involvement. The more government is involved the worse it gets for business. Government needs to stop trying to "fix" everything and let the free enterprise system alone. It is self correcting and works when given the chance.
  • You're in big trouble!
  • Big companies are NOT loyal to American Businesses.
  • Need to hold all accountable and remove non performers
  • The state of Pennsylvania has a major problem with the lavish pensions that have been given to public sector employees. Private sector employees either have no pensions or ones that they must contribute to at a very high percentage in most instances. This ratio does not work. Consequently, we have a large majority of private employees who must foot the expense to pay for the public employees pensions. On top of that, public employees are being paid at a much higher rate then comparable private sector workers. Until the House and Senate addresses this problem, the State will not prosper.
  • Just Hanging On
  • Where's the PA pension reform?
  • the goverment sould take pride in the country not lining there pockets.
  • Hoping for a better 2016 with healthier economic climate more attuned to free market principles.
  • IT WILL NOT SURVIVE UNDER THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION TACTICS
  • My cost always go up but if I raise income I lose work. Things need to even out.
  • business is difficult with lack of job applicants to fill jobs that have a drivers license, pass a drug test, have usable skills, gov't regulations/mandates take too much time. having a hard time making money, the gas industry is going to suffer and take the economy with it, coal is devistated, sad gov't direction and when the bubble bursts with inflation and interest rates or our dollar falters we will be in real trouble. sad state of affairs
  • evaluating moving out of state
  • Gov Wolf must handle pension reform and has not been willing to grab that bull by the horns. He sold out to the unions during his campaign.
  • Government, businesses, and individuals all need to learn how to live within their means. Way too much emphasis on increasing revenue; way too little emphasis on cost/expense controls.
  • Pennsylvania needs budget reforms, but the tax and spend policies of Gov. Wolf will stifle new economic development. The new taxes collected will go to the same places that they have always gone, where results don't matter and they always need more money. It is cash down the drain when real economic and tax reforms that promote growth are needed.
  • Looking to move to Texas in the next year or two. Many of our customers have left the region, and we've built a new customer base in TX where taxes are more reasonable, costs are lower, talent is available, and opportunities are more plentiful. PA is slowly choking on its own poor business climate, crumbling infrastructure, and declining workforce.
  • Reduce the size of state government by 50%
  • Gas taxes are too high and PA turnpike tolls excessive.
  • don't tax architects services!!!!!!!
  • stale - failing to ignite a spark that catches fire - compliance based expenditures drive too much investment
  • Many businesses are surviving week to week, need help from the banks to refinance to get into a better position.
  • Unfair labor representation in Harrisburg is a major cost and impediment to business in the state. Taxes and younger technical people leaving makes growth difficult.
  • It has been going downhill rapidly. We are looking at relocating out of state.
  • Public Employee pension issues (underfunding) are hanging over our heads at every level of govt (school districts, local municipalities, counties state). Unless action is taken at a state level to address the issues, this is going to continue to tick away much like a time bomb waiting to explode, and the fallout from that explosion will be devastating to everyone in the state. But no one in the State govt seems to want to address the issue (too political, I guess). Need braver leadership at the state level to put the issues on the table and get some solutions.
  • This seems to be a very political survey, not so much a business survey. The Lehigh Valley is growing and I believe most of PA is doing OK, too.
  • IT'S WONDERFUL, I LOVE THE RESPECT I GET FROM THE ENTIRE WORLD.
  • We will be moving our US based jobs to Texas or Florida, due to the commie Tom Wolf
  • Over regulatio, high school taxes not a right to work state
  • Consumer confidence is still too low. We need more investment or at least awareness of renewable energy.
  • All state business needs to be vetted to ensure that politics, nepotism and/or "that's they way it's been done for years" does not prevent a level, merit/performance field!
  • Must become much more small business friendly by offering real incentives to invest in our businesses, develop new things, hire people and grow. Eliminate the mandatory prevailing wage requirements and reduce corp tax rates. Fight for healthcare reform that makes sense as this plan is not a good one for individuals and small businesses.
  • as one of the highest tax burden states for businesses the state continues to adopt plans and processes to take more and re-allocate it to seemingly pressing needs like education. leave the money in the hands of the businesss to create a better business/employment/growth climate and lower taxes and drop the idea that taking more money from businesses and people will heal the problems that they seem to think plagues society. the more tax and more spending mindset is dangerous and must be reversed or we will be working just to work and feeding a broken system that no mount of money will fix. this is a national problem as well, but start at the state level.
  • We need to encourage a manufacturing climate. We need to encourage skill training, not millions of people with meaningless college degrees and no job prospects.
  • Raising the sales tax is a bad deal for everyone in Pa. From the bottom to the top.
  • Obama is ruining our company.
  • Wolf is going to KILL PA! Tax Tax Tax...really??? Do you have any idea how much money the gas companies have paid to rural, affected counties in Impact Fees? A LOT! Severance tax will go across the state and NOT where it belongs! In affected communities....Go find another cash cow. NOT BRIGHT! I can not believe people voted this ass in.
  • it's improving but is stifled by antiquated tax laws
  • Land of taxes. PA needs to get rid of personal and corporate income taxes and go to a simple sales tax on everything, NO exceptions. Companies would pay tax on their employees pay as a sales tax, that way if a company pays its CEO $5,000,000.00 the company would also pay the same percentage on $50,000.00 employee. Everyone would pay tax only when you buy something (a car, home, stock, services and employees).
  • Our regional economy was saved during the recession after 2008 because of the Natural Gas industry. With the existing climate of less drilling, any severance tax will surely have major negative effects. Thousands of new high-paying jobs, average household income that has doubled, many families doing much better in this area....Gov. Wolf says "thanks" for all the new jobs and economic growth by demanding taxes on them. Makes no sense.
  • While lmany businesses claim they do not have a pool from which to hire, the real problem lies in federal and state grabs of capital which provides great uncertainty and hesitation for businesses to move ahead in any real way.
  • Taxes - the devil will be in the details. Not enough info out as of now to tell how the proposed changes will affect the business the individuals.
  • The governor's tax proposal will hurt small businesses
  • It is critical that we provide significant support to roads, waterways, rail right-of-way and ports if Pennsylvania is to return to being economically competitive. In addition, support to higher education, particularly institutions involved in R&D, with a focus on fostering new business start-ups in the commonwealth is critical. A good start to doing the things that need doing is establishing an extraction fee for oil gas - the jobs related to that industry are not going anywhere, unless the oil gas goes somewhere else.
  • sorry I located in pennsylvania
  • Politicians need to stop bickering amongst themselves and get down to business.
  • Stop regulations. Let the free enterprise system work.
  • Well-regulated exploitation of our natural resources is a good thing for Pennsylvania. But we must also focus on 21st century competitiveness - especially in attracting and retaining highly skilled and professional employees who can work anywhere in the world. In our business, we have had success by taking a long view, being nationally competitive in attracting employees, and focusing on growth. We would love to see Pennsylvania embrace this type of approach.
  • I feel that there is a great deal of opportunity in Pennsylvania and throughout the USA for business. I feel that the availability of employees with basic skills is a true challenge that is facing business in Pennsylvania. As an employer I also feel that there is a need to overhaul the workers compensation and unemployment agencies of the state. Rights of employers, relating to workers compensation have Pennsylvania rated as one of the worst in the USA. Unemployment allows people to remain out of the work force far to long even though there are jobs available, just not what "fits" the unemployed persons ability to still have their "fun time". words that several unemployed people have stated to our firm when we have offered them employment. I also truly believe there are many working under the table and have no incentive to return to the workforce until benefits expire. Allowing such behavior to continue has not only financial but social and cultural ramifications for taxpayers, employers and society, both now and in the future. Relating to education. My firm and I both are strong advocates for education. Some of our staff have served on local school committees as business liaisons providing input on the side of industry and business. One thing that we observed is that schools are pushing all or many individuals towards college, and have in many cases a poor view of industry and trades which are an essential part of the Pennsylvania and United States economy. There should not be a negative perception of such job opportunities. Trades require many skills and technology plays an important part of manufacturing, construction and industrial industries. We do not believe that money is the problem with our education system. We believe that a teaching focus including economic, math, personal finance, computer and skills such as these would benefit students as they enter the workforce, and life in general. Thank you for including us in this survey.
  • If the sales tax were increased to 7% and the real estate tax ELIMINATED, I believe that would make PA a better place to live and do business in.
  • NJ and New Englands business climate is poor and PA is the best in the region. Our location makes us good for distribution
  • Government was never to control the economy. It's job was to manage the necessary items of social interaction. They have become power hungry and forgot their purpose.
  • The business climate is tepid because of unresponsive government, and ill conceived programs that discourage rather than encourage small business to what it does best, create jobs and wealth.
  • Cutting business taxes is a good first step to improve conditions for small business in Pennsylvania, but we cannot cut our way to prosperity. The Governor along with the Pennsylvania Senate and House must actively court new business to the State through individually focused tax breaks and incentives for us to succeed. Pennsylvania's economy continues to lag the rest of Nation in recovery from the lack of leadership.
  • Make this a right to work state; reform government pensions; do away with prevailing wage laws; close special exceptions in tax laws - both individual and corporate
  • outlook for business is bleak. After 30+ yrs of ownership, i am glad i am old. May close the business (and retire) this yr if things do not start looking brighter. Unfortunately i don't want to lay everyone off but will not subsidize a gov't that only cares for their own welfare and not their people.
  • The GOP has screwed up the economy, but the Dems aren't helping either.
  • It could be improved.Other states do much better.
  • It is very tough for small business to survive. After 13 years, I don't know if we will make it to the end of this year much less to 14 years.
  • I believe the biggest hindrance to long-term, sustainable growth in this region is the Marcellus Shale industry. There is currently a brain drain occurring. The boom will bust, and the region will suffer as a result. Too much emphasis is being placed on shale gas and related infrastructure. Future generations will bear the cost.
  • No questions regarding public employees pension issues That is a huge issue that must be addressed
  • As long as we have tax and give away (used to be tax and spend but now it is just handout to illegals and criminals) liberals running this state and country we are in real trouble. They hurt business and the middle class with every decision they make and their only goals are line their own pockets and 'wealth distribution'. I just heard a PA politician use the Obama line 'Pay their fair share' in relation to Wolf's tax blow out budget. Can't get any more repulsive than quoting Obama for your economic policies. That means take from the middle class and give to the Wolf's cronies, to the unions, to illegals - in other words, the rich get richer, the liberals gain power and business and the middle class gets screwed to the wall even more.
  • It is slowly improving and will continue to do so at this slow pace.
  • The Governor is scary!
  • The Wolfe budget had NO expense cuts. No reigning in of out of control pensions, no plan to get out of the alcohol promotion business, just basically higher taxes. That's not a plan, I may buy into some increased taxes if I see some fiscally prudent spending corrections. More money to the schools is simply more money to the teachers unions and bloated school administrations, makes not sense.
  • Wolfe has proposed a bugget approach has is extremely devisive and puntitive to those of us working in the shale gas industry. Similar policites adopted in WV about six years ago drove lots of business into PA, now Wolfe is driving that business elsewhere with his proposed changes. He hides in SE and SC PA while he guts our economy elsewhere in the state.
90
Answered:90
Skipped:246