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December 21, 2015

MSCI’s Philadelphia Chapter Tells State Lawmakers To Vote Against A Plan To Raise Taxes

Pennsylvania lawmakers are in the middle of a heated budget battle and, last week, Lee Kushman, president of MSCI’s Philadelphia chapter and Vice President and General Manager of Pennsylvania Steel Co., sent a letter to state lawmakers telling them to “resist” adding broad-based tax increases, or new energy taxes, to the fiscal year 2016 budget. 

Kushman said, “Pennsylvania’s business tax structure features some of the highest rates and most restrictive provisions in the entire nation. … Capping net operating loss, taxing both assets and profitability, and other restrictive tax policies threaten Pennsylvania’s competitiveness.” The letter noted Pennsylvania already has one of the top corporate tax rates in the country and that, on an individual level, Pennsylvanians bear the 10th highest tax burden in the nation. 

On energy taxes, Kushman argued, “[I]mposing punitive new energy taxes remains a terrible idea. Pennsylvania’s economic potential from Marcellus and Utica Shale natural gas is boundless. Rather than imposing an industry-specific tax, which would increase energy prices and decrease production, we should instead maximize this opportunity to expand Pennsylvania’s tax base.” 

The letter was effective. As U.S. News and World Report reported Sunday night, even though lawmakers had agreed in November to a $1 billion tax increase, on Saturday members of the statehouse defeated part of that plan. Lawmakers are still in session this week, but Senate Republicans have pledged to oppose new taxes increases.