The CEO Council is pleased to provide its summary of legislative issues that we view as critical to growing Greater Philadelphia’s economy and quality of life. The CEO Council is committed to enhancing economic growth and prosperity in our region through regional and national policy.
These issues below and many others will be part of the dialogue in Washington, D.C. on October 7 when the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia holds its annual Chamber Day trip. Chamber Day briefs up to seventy-five participants of the many important issues impacting the region’s economic growth and provides on the ground policy updates from Members of our regional Congressional Delegation. Please join us! To register or for more information, please click here.
As Congress begins to consider actions to extend the authorization of the nation’s highway and transit programs before it expires on October 29, 2015, the CEO Council continues urge our elected leaders to pass a long-term transportation bill and enact stable and growing transportation revenues to the Highway Trust Fund that will match the total financing need through increased investments above inflation in a safe and reliable transportation infrastructure. Please review our updated policy principles for the next surface transportation reauthorization.
The Pennsylvania-Delaware-New Jersey region has tremendous unmet needs in terms of our transportation infrastructure. The implications and urgency of our region’s mounting infrastructure needs have never been more apparent. Greater Philadelphia has over one thousand miles of national highway and over 350 miles of interstate routes. Total lane miles of pavement in deficient conditions increased by eight percent between 2005 and 2012. Almost 45 percent of the region’s 4,813 bridges are either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient.
A multi-year reauthorization of the highway and transit programs has thus been a top priority for our membership and will continue to be. In the event that Congress is unable to complete that task by the end of October, we are hopeful that our delegation will support a longer-term extension than one simply through December, so that there is slightly more certainty in this sector than 60 days. Given the Department of Transportation revised estimates of Highway Trust Fund solvency, we urge our delegation to provide spending authority on transportation programs through June 2016.
Appropriations – Federal Funding for Research
The CEO Council will continue to actively advocate for increased research funding in the federal budget. Research in our region is leading to major breakthroughs in innovation, new technologies, life-saving medical treatments, and regional job growth. The federal government’s support and funding for research is key to advancing our economy and global competitiveness.
We hope to work with Congress to underscore the importance of federal funded research and increase federal accounts responsible for dispersing research funds at a steady rate above inflation each year beginning with the FY16 appropriations process or omnibus bill.
Research & Development Tax Credit
As Congress debates tax extenders legislation, the CEO Council continues to urge our lawmakers to expand and permanently extend the Research & Development (R&D) tax credit as a way to provide companies an assured and enhanced incentive to invest in innovation domestically. Temporary or expiring provisions make it difficult for employers to make long-term decisions affecting the future of their business. A permanent R&D tax credit would foster job growth and instill long-term certainty for R&D enterprises, which are a critical part of our region.
International Tax Reform
The CEO Council advocates for an international tax system that will help companies compete globally, grow domestically, and increase repatriated income. U.S. multinationals are taxed here on their domestic profits, taxed abroad on their foreign profits, and then taxed again when their foreign profits are brought back home. Under the current deferral system, U.S. firms have a big incentive to leave their foreign earnings offshore, where they can avoid U.S. taxes. Estimates value the total of cash and assets parked offshore at $2 trillion. Congress should adopt a tax system that will help American companies build global brands while continuing to strengthen operations back home. Eliminating all or most of the double-tax on repatriated income from foreign affiliates would remove a competitive disadvantage and encourage greater investment in our economy from foreign profits.
Higher Education Act Reauthorization
We ask Members of our delegation to support the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which provides students with the opportunity to access, enter, and succeed in postsecondary learning. Even though effort to reauthorize the HEA failed in the last Congress, we remain encouraged at indications and actions from congressional leaders that a bipartisan HEA could move before the end of the year .