This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Business Climate Survey Results


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 25, 2014 – October 31, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with former Virginia Governor James Gilmore of the Free Congress Foundation about the federal response to Ebola
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on what to expect from a U.S. Senate under Republican control
  • Eric Boehm and Katie Watson have a Watchdog Radio look at examples of government waste found in Senator Tom Coburn’s new “waste book”
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on what will happen if the dollar ceases to be the world currency

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from paindependent.com
  • Kevin Shivers from the PA Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business hosts a Capitol Watch look at results of the Fall 2014 Keystone Business Climate Survey with Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation and Neal Lesher from NFIB
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the GOP’s new war on poverty
Business Climate Survey Results

A sneak preview of just some of the Business Climate Survey Results!

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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PA Business Climate Improving…But Obamacare a drag on employment, pay


For the first time in a decade, by a narrow margin, more Pennsylvania employers say business conditions in the commonwealth are improving than say the state’s economy is getting worse.  But, that optimism is tempered by a lack of job creation and lower wage hikes due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

George W. Bush was president and on the verge of re-election in 2004, the last time respondents to the Lincoln Institute’s Keystone Business Climate Survey thought the business climate was getting better rather than worse.  Since then the nation has experienced the Great Recession and subsequent slow recovery.

But, the current survey finds 20% of the business owners and CEOs responding say over the past six months business conditions in Pennsylvania have gotten better, while 19% say the state’s economy has gotten worse.  By comparison, one year ago 31% felt business conditions had gotten worse and just 14% saw an improvement.

There is not, however, optimism for the immediate future.  Looking ahead six months, 27% expect business conditions in Pennsylvania to get worse, while 16% expect conditions to get better.

Driving the current burst of optimism are increasing sales.  Thirty-six percent of the companies said sales have increased over the past six months as 24% reported decreased sales.  Looking ahead, 32% project sales will increase, 13% expect sales to drop.

Employment levels dropped over the past six months, with 20% reporting higher employment and 24% saying employment at their business has decreased.  Looking ahead six months, 21% project adding employees, while 9% plan to employ fewer workers.

Impact of the Affordable Care Act

It is clear the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is having a negative impact on both the number of jobs that are being created, and on wages and pay hikes. Twenty-five percent of the business leaders participating in the survey said they have decided not to hire additional employees due to the requirements of Obamacare.  Ten percent said they have actually reduced the number of employees because of ACA; while another 3% said they hired, but did so later than they had planned.  Less than 1% said they hired sooner than planned because of Obamacare. Fifty-eight percent said ACA has had no impact on their hiring plans.

In terms of wages/salaries, 33% said they have delayed giving pay raises due to the costs of Obamacare.  Twenty-eight percent indicated they reduced the amounts of pay raises, while 26% said they paid new hires less to compensate for the costs associated with compliance of the Affordable Care Act.  Five percent reduced the pay of current employees, while 2% said they increased employee pay in response to ACA requirements.  A total of 42% said Obamacare has no impact on their wages/salaries.

State Issues

Education spending has been a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign. But, unlike the electorate at-large, business owners and CEOs participating in the Fall 2014 Keystone Business Climate Surveysay the state spends too much money on public education.  Forty percent think state government spend too much on public education, 29% say the state spends too little, while 27% say state spending on public education is about the right amount.

By a large margin, 78% to 19%, the employers say they are not willing to pay higher taxes to provide additional funding to public education.  There is, however, strong support for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) which businesses can claim for donating money to K-12 educational institutions.  Forty-seven percent think the General Assembly should allocate more month to the tax credit fund so more businesses can participate; 36% say the fund should be kept at current levels.

Taxes have also been a major campaign issue in 2014.  When asked whether Pennsylvania should retain the current “flat” income tax or move to a “graduated” income tax where low income earners are exempt and higher income earners pay a higher rate 84% said they support the current “flat” income tax, 14% would like to see a “graduated” rate.

A proposal to exempt the first $30,000 from state income taxes and raise the rate for money earned above that level from 3.07% to 5% drew strong opposition from the business leaders.  Seventy-three percent oppose such a system with 60% saying they are strongly opposed.    Twenty-three percent said they would support such a change.

Mandating paid sick leave for employees was opposed by three-quarters of the business owners and CEOs who participated in the Lincoln Institute survey.  Seventeen percent said they would support mandating paid sick leave for businesses with over 50 employees. Another 6% support mandating paid sick leave for all businesses regardless of size.

Job Approval Ratings

Mirroring the national trend, President Obama received a highly negative job approval rating from the business owners and CEOs.  Eighty-five percent voiced a negative view of the president, while 13% offered a positive assessment.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey is viewed favorably by 51% of the survey participants while 24% have a negative view.  The numbers reverse for U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. as 60% offered a negative view of his job performance against a 21% positive rating.   Fed Chairman Janet Yellen received a 38% negative / 28% positive rating; and, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew scored a 42% negative / 8% positive.

At the state level Governor Tom Corbett sports a 52% positive rating while 35% disapprove of the job being done by the Republican governor.  The CEOs and business owners turned thumbs down on Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who received a 49% negative rating against just 16% positive.  Most offered no opinion on the job performance of Auditor General Eugene Depasquale and State Treasurer Rob McCord.  Of those who did, Depasquale had a 20% negative / 11% positive rating and McCord scored 21% negative / 17% positive.

Participants in the Fall 2014 Keystone Business Climate Survey took a dim view of the job being done by both Congress and by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.  Eighty-nine percent offered a negative assessment of the U.S. Senate, with 7% having a positive view.  The U.S. House of Representatives fared slightly better scoring a 72% negative / 22% positive rating.  Sixty-three percent have a negative view of the job being done by the Pennsylvania Senate, 19% approve.  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives turned in a marginally higher score, with a 62% negative / 23% positive rating.

And, Governor Tom Corbett finally came out ahead in one poll.  Sixty-five percent of the business owners and CEOs said they plan to vote for the incumbent governor in the November 4th General Election, 20% say they will cast their ballot for Democratic challenger Tom Wolf.  However, 53% expect Wolf to win the election, while 29% predict a Corbett victory.

Methodology

The Lincoln Institute’s 2014 Keystone Business Climate Survey was conducted electronically from September 26, 2014 through October 17, 2014.  A total of 316 responses were received.  Of those, 69% are the owner of their business, 24% are the CEO/COO or CFO, another 4% are a state or local manager. Twenty-seven percent of the respondents are located in southeastern Pennsylvania, 18% in southwestern Pennsylvania, 14% in the northwest section of the state, 17% in south-central Pennsylvania, 11% in northeastern Pennsylvania, 6% in the Lehigh Valley, six percent in north-central Pennsylvania and 1% in the Altoona/Johnstown area. Complete numeric results are available at www.lincolninstitute.org.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Chris Nicholas’ Election Overview


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 18, 2014 – October 24, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry gets an overview of the 2014 elections from Chris Nicholas of the PA Business Council
  • Frank Gamrat and Eric Montarti explore building a hotel at the Pittsburgh convention center on the Allegheny Institute Report
  • Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on economic freedom

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Jim Martin of the 60 Plus Association about the impact of new EPA regulations on older Americans
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the make-up of the new class of Congressional freshmen
  • Eric Boehm and Tori Richards have a Watchdog Radio Report on continuing problems at VA hospitals
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on the battle for control of the U.S. Senate

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on American Radio Journal: Dick Morris Talks Obama Power Grab


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 11, 2014 – October 17, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Dick Morris about his new book: Power Grab: Obama’s Dangerous Plan for a One Party Nation
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind the suddenly competitive U.S. Senate race in South Dakota
  • Eric Boehm has a Watchdog Radio look at the CATO Institute’s new report card on the nation’s governors with Nicole Kaeding of CATO
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on why bombing alone won’t stop ISIS

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from paindependent.com
  • David Taylor of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association has a Capitol Watch interview with Chan Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers about the current status of the business climate for manufacturing
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why the conservative agenda has bogged down in Harrisburg despite Republican control

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on American Radio Journal: John Gizzi Analysis of Governor Races


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 4, 2014 – October 10, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with John Gizzi, Chief Political Correspondent for Newsmax for a state-by-state analysis of governor races
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on why party control of the U.S. Senate may not be known until January
  • Eric Boehm and Mark Lisheron have a Watchdog Radio look at the legacy of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the rising cost of talk radio programming

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with Lebanon Valley College professor Dr. James Broussard about his new book Ronald Reagan: Champion of Conservative America
  • Joe Geiger of the First Nonprofit Foundation has Mark Ware from the Historical & Genealogical Society of Somerset County in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  • Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the political spending of labor unions

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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A Ruined Black Tie Affair


black tie logoMy favorite Garth Brooks song, about having friends in low places, has a great lyric where he sings “I showed up in boots and ruined your black tie affair.”  That refrain could be sung by Pennsylvania’s newest state senator, Scott Wagner, who just months into his term, has called for the ouster of the reigning Senate Republican leader.

There is no doubt that Senate Majority Leader Domenic Pileggi is out of step with both his caucus and with his party.  The most frequently asked question I get is: Why have Republicans – with control of the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature – failed to enact reforms near and dear to the heart of the party’s grassroots?  The blame in large measure rests squarely on the shoulders of Pileggi and a handful of other southeastern Republican senators whose loyalty lies not with their party or voters, but rather with the labor unions who financially support their campaigns.

Senator Wagner had the temerity to challenge Pileggi directly on this issue.  In a strongly worded letter saying he supports a change in leadership Wagner told Pileggi: “I suspect many of your actions can be explained by the company you keep . . . It has become crystal clear to me that you will not allow any piece of legislation onto the floor for a vote that would in any way be opposed by the public or private sector unions.”

Reaction from the Senate leadership team tellingly focused on concerns that: “Public disagreements within our caucus are not the norm; we always hope such differences can be resolved in a collegial manner.”

I guess he ruined their black tie affair.

Interestingly, among the “accomplishments” of Senator Pileggi cited by his fellow leaders was passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Plan, essentially a massive gas tax hike that is enormously unpopular among fiscal conservatives.  No mention, of course, was made of pension reform or liquor privatization – key legislative goals of Governor Tom Corbett and of House Republicans respectively.

Conservatives know that resolving matters in a “collegial manner” only means the clubby status quo of the Senate remains intact.  The past four years have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that such business as usual cannot and will not yield reform.  The same situation existed across the capitol rotunda in the state House during the speakership of John Perzel, who – before being sent off to prison – ran that chamber in a manner contrary to both the principles of his party and the will of most members of his own caucus.

History is now repeating itself.  Electoral trends across the state have resulted in Republican representation in both the Senate and in the House shift from the formerly Republican southeastern Philadelphia suburbs to central and especially western Pennsylvania where voters have elected more Republicans and more conservative Republicans.  Pileggi, of Delaware County, is on the wrong side of the trend line.

The question now becomes when will enough Republican senators realize that they are enabling the labor union agenda by allowing Senator Pileggi to remain as Majority Leader?  It is not enough, back in their districts, to use the excuse that leadership won’t bring issues to a vote.  Every senator has the power to shed the black tie, put on their boots and change leadership so it more accurately reflects the principles of the Republican Party’s grassroots.
Wagner, meanwhile, has nothing to lose.  Pileggi & company pulled every trick in the book to prevent him from being elected to the Senate in the first place.  In an embarrassing defeat for Pileggi, Wagner beat the leader’s hand-picked candidate in a special election by waging a write-in campaign – the first write-in victory for a state Senate candidate in the history of the commonwealth.

Putting a cherry on top of the sundae, Wagner recently gave the Senate Republican report at the Fall meeting of the Republican State Committee.  Such reports typically lull members to sleep, but Wagner animated the crowd with a fiery speech denouncing labor unions and those who have blocked the GOP’s reform agenda – specifically pinning the blame on southeastern senators.

He received numerous and thunderous ovations.

Wagner is not speaking for just the conservative wing of the party, he is speaking for all Republicans who are angry that they have worked for decades to gain control in Harrisburg, and have seen critical reforms derailed by elected officials of their own party.  And those reforms have not failed because of the governor or the state House, but because of the Senate.  Senator Wagner has correctly identified the “number one obstacle.”

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on American Radio Journal: Climate Change Madness


Radio Program Schedule for the week of September 27, 2014 – October 3, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with David Williams from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance about how solar panel companies rather than home owners are benefiting from the Solar Investment Tax Credit
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the suddenly competitive U.S. Senate race in Kansas
  • Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle have a Watchdog Radio Report on the recent march for climate change in New York City
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on the air attacks on ISIS
Climate Change is the hot topic this week on American Radio Journal!

Climate Change is the hot topic this week on American Radio Journal!

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from paindependent.com
  • David Taylor and Kevin Shivers have a Capitol Watch look at the first gubernatorial debate
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why big government is fueling voter anger

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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