Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Mackenzie Provides Fiscal, Energy Overview
By Colin McEvoy on October 13, 2016
Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Mackenzie discussed the state’s fiscal situation, provided an energy overview, and discussed legislation he has championed during an event hosted by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) this week.
Mackenzie, who is in his third term representing the 134th district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was the host of LVEDC’s Conversation and Cocktails event on Oct. 13 at the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown.
Mackenzie has long been a strong advocate for what he sees as the most important issues facing Pennsylvania: creating jobs, protecting taxpayers, strengthening education, and reforming government.
“One of the things I really focus on is always trying to have a proactive approach and pro-growth approach to economic development,” Mackenzie said.
The Conversation and Cocktails series gives LVEDC investors the opportunity to have targeted interaction with members of the legislative body in an intimate setting to discuss pressing economic issues. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent also hosted events from this series earlier in the year.
“We couldn’t do what we do here in the Lehigh Valley without the help of our local, state, and federal legislators,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC President and CEO. “Fortunately, we work well together with our elected representatives – regardless of party affiliation – to advance a common agenda for the Lehigh Valley.”
Speaking before a crowd of more than 150 people, Mackenzie discussed the overall tax picture for Pennsylvania and fiscal challenges the state faces, noting that the Pennsylvania Corporate Net Income Tax of 9.99 percent is the second-highest out of all 50 states.
He noted that the Pennsylvania Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, which represented about 1.1 percent of total tax revenues generated in Pennsylvania, was eliminated in 2016. It was imposed on corporations with capital stock, LLCs, business trusts, and all other entities classified as corporations for federal tax purposes that were formed or operate in Pennsylvania.
Mackenzie said noted the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, which is imposed as a percentage of the value of a decedent’s estate transferred to beneficiaries, was eliminated in 2013 for transfers of small business assets between certain family members. He was the prime sponsor on the legislation responsible for that change.
Mackenzie described energy as “one of the real bright spots” for Pennsylvania, largely driven by Marcellus Shale gas production. That industry has created thousands of jobs for the state in the Marcellus Shale area, he said, and tens of thousands more ancillary jobs throughout the entire state, including the Lehigh Valley.
Pennsylvania ranks only 28th in energy consumption, Mackenzie said, but is second in energy production, trailing only Texas. Pennsylvania is the nation’s second-largest natural gas producer and fourth-largest coal producing state, he said, and ranked second in the nation in 2015 in energy generation from nuclear power.
Additionally, Mackenzie said clean energy firms in Pennsylvania employed 57,330 workers at 4,269 businesses and other establishments in 2014.
Mackenzie discussed legislation he has supported to advance workforce development and economic development, including “CareerBound,” a public-private educational initiative that would permit trade groups, businesses, and higher learning institutions to partner with secondary schools to offer students exposure to careers in high-priority fields.
Mackenzie also introduced legislation to create a program called “Startups for Soldiers,” which would waive state business startup fees for individuals transitioning to the civilian workforce from the United States Armed Forces, including reserve units and the National Guard.
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