Voice of Business
The Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce accepts the responsibility to represent its members as the voice of business. Our goal is to ensure that the business community’s best interests are always represented in the region’s governments. A pro-business climate is critical to the superior quality of life we enjoy in the greater Chambersburg area. It allows us to attract new businesses to our community and expand the ones currently hiring, serving and producing. It allows us to grow.
The Chamber's professional staff and board of directors monitor borough, county, state and federal activities and represent our members on issues and legislation affecting the welfare of businesses and the quality of life in the Chambersburg area. When there is cause to advocate publicly on an issue, our president and representatives from the board of directors meet with decision-makers to ensure the position of the thousands of businesses and employees that we represent are being accounted for.
2019 Public Policy Positions
The Chambersburg Chamber Public Policies Agenda is updated annually to reflect the issues currently facing our community. In addition to specific priorities outlined below, the board of directors may identify key issues throughout the year that the Chamber will advocate for on behalf of the business community.
View a summary of the Chamber's public policy positions below.
Address Local Education and Workforce Development Needs
The Chamber will continue to work diligently with local stakeholders, businesses and organizations to open up a community conversation to help create the framework for a long-term workforce development initiative. This vision-based effort has led to a Community Education Coalition that drives sustainable and effective workforce solutions for Franklin County. The resulting plans will address the education and economic needs of our community through a systematic approach.
Combating the Prescription Drug and Opioid Epidemic
Pennsylvania is facing a prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic, particularly with injured workers. The Chamber seeks to improve Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system and help address prescription drug overuse and opioid addiction. The Chamber advocates implementing a prescription drug formulary for workers’ compensation, which has helped mitigate prescription drug over-prescribing and addiction in many other states. Formularies offer a flexible approach that makes treatment of typical patients more efficient, facilitates exceptions for unique cases and addresses the outlier instances of over-prescribing. The Chamber also supports the proper certification of Utilization Review Organizations to ensure qualified experts are holding all parties accountable to properly apply the formulary.
Opposition of Minimum Wage Increase
While all businesses would feel the impact, small business employers would be especially hit hard: on average they make just $50,000 a year. Businesses with such thin profit margins may not be able to absorb an employee wage hike, regardless whether their employees are full-time or part-time. Small businesses are the most common employers to pay minimum wage and would be most likely to halt hiring or cut jobs as a result of the wage hike. With more than 60 percent of Chamber membership comprised of small businesses, the Chamber is dedicated to representing businesses and advocating for no increase in the minimum wage that would be harmful to local small businesses.
Opposition of Proposed Reverse Tax Appeals
The Chambersburg Area School District initiated an effort in 2015 to reassess the value of commercial properties to increase the property taxes owners must pay. A third-party consultant identifies properties as being appraised too low, and then the school board initiates a Reverse Tax Assessment Appeal. While this may provide financial benefits for the district in the short-term, it will have long-term negative consequences on the district, local businesses and the community.
Reverse Tax Appeals could lead to companies moving to other locations in the region where the taxes are significantly less. Property taxes paid by warehouses comprise a significant tax base for the school district and support over 1,000 jobs. If these companies leave Chambersburg for better tax rates and benefits, it could have a major negative impact on our business climate, and ultimately the entire community.
Widening of Interstate 81
Interstate 81 has grown in its importance as a major north-south economic engine to our region. The explosive increase in truck movements has occurred and will certainly continue to grow as both intermodal and distribution centers come on line. The highway provides access to major markets on the east coast. While the Chamber represents the interests of the business community, we can unequivocally express the desire of the residents of the county to see action to expand the highway. It has been 14 years since PennDOT studied the corridor, but little in the study has been implemented. We need to move immediately toward the expansion of the highway. While we wait for action, congestion grows. The Chamber supported the 2013 PA transportation bill (Act 89) to raise approximately 2 billion when the five-year phased-in tax increases are fully implemented. We are also supporting a long-term federal highway solution.
The Chamber also adopts the public policy positions of the PA Chamber of Business and Industry. View their Legislative Agenda.
For more information about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its advocacy positions, click here.
The Chambersburg Chamber's Public Policies Agenda is updated annually to reflect the issues currently facing our community. In addition to specific priorities outlined in the agenda, the board of directors may identify key issues throughout the year that the Chamber will advocate for on behalf of the business community.