Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

November 2017

State Budget Update  

At the end of October, the 2017-18 state budget was signed into law after a four-month delay between the passage of a $32 billion spending plan and a revenue package to fund it. The budget includes a $100 million increase in basic education spending and no cuts to human service programs or to tax credit programs. There were approximately $2 billion in cuts and efficiencies made across agencies, including plans to merge the Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole into a new Department of Criminal Justice and plans to merge the Human Services and Health Departments. The primary revenue source is the securitization of payments pursuant to the Tobacco Settlement Agreement.
It is important to note, that through the work of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce (GPCC), there were no broad-based tax increases – and of particular note, no gross receipts tax, no severance tax, and no back-tracking on our effort to increase the cap on Net Operating Loss (NOL) carryforwards.  Additionally, the GPCC team worked to ensure and strongly encourage the funding of our state-related institutions, namely the University of Pittsburgh. You can read GPCC President Matt Smith’s letter to the editor in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette here.
Along with the budget, a public school code bill became law that makes several reforms to the existing teacher evaluation system.  The law eliminates the “last in, first out” layoff priority that sometimes resulted in qualified, effective teachers losing their job simply because they hadn’t been employed by the school district as long as other teachers. It replaces this system with one that bases furloughs on performance evaluations instead, a policy priority our organization has long supported.
In an extremely challenging environment, the budget process highlights the need for a larger economic growth strategy in our Commonwealth to grow GDP which is the most stable long-term manner to increase revenue. We believe a great starting point for this dialogue would be structured around three broad categories: capital and infrastructure investment; workforce development and education, including higher-education; and tax and regulatory reform. In order to move forward, it is essential to include these policy issues into the next budget framework.

Bill Demchak: Fix the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. Now

Bill Demchak, chairman, president and CEO of The PNC Financial Services Group and vice chair of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, published a recent op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the need to take urgent, meaningful action to correct the issues facing the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA).

The Allegheny Conference and GPCC are closely following the issues and developments taking place at the PWSA and are working with stakeholders to determine the best course of action to address these issues that threaten our region, its reputation and quality of life. 

Report: The Role of Immigrants in Reviving the Great Lakes Region

New American Economy, in partnership with the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, released a new report on the impact that immigration is having on the economy of the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, which is co-led by the GPCC, is a 40 member chamber of commerce coalition that works to advance federal priorities that will improve the economy of the Great Lakes region.

The report, New Americans and a New Direction: The Role of Immigrants in Reviving the Great Lakes Region, finds that immigration fuels population growth in the Great Lakes region, immigrants are keeping the region’s workforce viable, and immigrants are playing a critical role in a number of sectors including manufacturing and healthcare and are fueling entrepreneurship that is driving job creation across the region.

The GPCC's Brandon Mendoza, who worked with New American Economy to develop the report, participated in a panel on the importance of immigration to the Great Lakes economy at the WE Global Network's 2017 Convening in Syracuse, where the report was released. 

Read the full report here

Photos: November First Friday with Christina Cassotis, CEO, Allegheny County Airport Authority 

Our November First Friday event featured Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority. We appreciate Christina taking the time to provide an overview of Pittsburgh International Airport’s terminal modernization program. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with her and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to advance this project, which will play a big role in improving the economy and quality of life in the Pittsburgh region. To view photos from the event, click here

Join us for our December First Friday event (taking place on the second Friday in December) which will feature an economic development update from a panel of county commissioners from our 10-county region. The event will be held on Friday, December 8, 2017 at the 11 Stanwix Street auditorium. Networking and a continental breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m., with the program from 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Please RSVP your attendance to Diane Hughley.
Our First Friday series, presented by the Port of Pittsburgh Commsion, brings together the region's private sector and public affairs community to engage with elected and other public officials on issues that are important to the region's economy and quality of life.

GPCC Join Congressman Shuster and County Executive Fitzgerald on Bus Rapid Transit Tour 

Members of the GPCC joined Congressman Bill Shuster, Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on a recent tour of the future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route that will connect downtown Pittsburgh to Oakland and points beyond. The BRT project is a key regional priority. We thank Congressman Shuster for his support and look forward to continuing our close partnership with him to advance this vital project. 

You’re Invited: A Conversation with FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson

We are hosting Robert Powelson, Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for an event on Monday, Nov. 20.

Commissioner Powelson will offer his perspective on the state of America’s energy portfolio today and the outlook for the future.

Registration begins at 2:30 p.m., with the program running from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. It will take place in the lobby auditorium of 11 Stanwix St. in downtown Pittsburgh.

Register for the event here.

Sponsorship Opportunity: 2017 December Public Officials Reception 

We invite you to participate as a sponsor of our 2017 December Public Officials Reception to be held at the Duquesne Club, 325 Sixth Ave, in downtown Pittsburgh.

The event will take place on Thursday, Dec. 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For sponsorship information, including the various levels of sponsorship and the benefits associated with each, please click here.
For questions, contact Brandon Mendoza at 412.281.4783. 

PA Society Events with the GPCC

If you are planning to be in NYC for the annual Pennsylvania Society weekend, please join the GPCC at a reception honoring Stefani Pashman, the new CEO of the Allegheny Conference.

The reception, hosted by K&L Gates, will take place on Friday, Dec. 1 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 599 Lexington Avenue (Corner of 53rd and Lex) New York, NY.

To RSVP, please contact Renee Gestrich at 412.355.8643.
We are also joining the PA Chamber of Business and Industry in hosting a breakfast reception honoring PA Senate and House leaders on Friday, Dec. 1 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown, Nassau Room, New York, NY.

To RSVP, please contact Jennifer Reis at 717.720.5431. 

Allegheny Conference 2017 Annual Meeting Report 

The Allegheny Conference issued its 2017 Annual Meeting Report: Moving the Region Forward. Together earlier this week. The report contains a snapshot of the progress made across the Allegheny Conference's agenda over the past year. You can also view a photo gallery from the Annual Meeting. 

The Conference is encouraging the community to get in touch with us to share an idea of, or plan for, how you or your network can partner with us on issues to move the region forward.

Tri-State Shale Summit - Nov. 29 

Mark your calendars for this year’s Tri-State Shale Summit, located in the beautiful Stark State College Downtown Campus.

The event will include regional updates and focused sessions on: transportation and infrastructure, marketing in the region, research and innovation, commercialization and workforce development.

Visit for more information.

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