May. 09, 2024

Tax Cuts and Energy Savings Will Make Us More Competitive

Since 2019, costs for everything from groceries to building materials have spiked at a much higher level than consumer incomes. Meanwhile, it is often asked what role state government has in addressing inflation.

For me, the answer is that government’s burden on businesses and families should be reduced as much as possible. This way, families will have a bit more of their earned money to spend and businesses can be left alone to do what they do best – grow their products and create jobs.

A bipartisan plan to reduce Pennsylvania’s overall tax burden and decrease the cost of energy has recently been passed in the Senate and it is my hope the House will soon consider the proposal.

Senate Bill 269 proposes to reduce the Personal Income Tax (PIT) rate from 3.07% to 2.8%, as well as eliminate the Gross Receipts Tax on energy, effective on Jan. 1, 2025. Both aspects of the bill will keep more money in the hands of Pennsylvanians.

The Senate’s proposal comes as the General Assembly and Gov. Josh Shapiro begin budget discussions. Pennsylvania is legally required to have a budget for the upcoming fiscal year in place by June 30.

In February, Gov. Shapiro proposed a $48.34 billion budget, which is an 8.4% increase over last year. He claimed the increase would not require a tax increase. However, the tax increase would only be avoided because his proposal plugs money from the General Fund surplus and Rainy Day fund into recurring expenses. When those funds run out in just a few years, a tax increase would be almost unavoidable.

Also of note, a House Democrat proposal, House Bill 1773, could nearly quadruple taxes paid by small businesses. The concern with such a proposal is that these expenses would require businesses to increase prices or eliminate staff.

Most of us agree government has very specific core services, such as public safety, quality education and care for seniors. However, governing responsibly means prioritizing those important topics and eliminating wasteful spending so those priorities are not sacrificed.

I believe the right course of action is to make Pennsylvania more competitive in attracting businesses that may look to open or expand in Pennsylvania.

While the PIT is paid by Pennsylvania employees, it is also paid by Pennsylvania’s small businesses, including S corporations, business trusts and limited liability companies. This is why the Senate proposal is so important.

Expanded economic development leads to new careers and more opportunities for our young people. As our workforce earns more and expands their families, communities grow and even more businesses are attracted to the area.

Pennsylvania needs to embrace this truth, as have more than a dozen other states that reduced income taxes in 2023. Those states include Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Utah and West Virgina.

By spurring economic growth and reducing energy costs paid by families and business, and because of the Commonwealth’s knowledgeable and agile workforce, Pennsylvania can be even more competitive with those other states.

Senate Bill 269 passed on the Senate floor this week. In the House it will be referred to the appropriate committee for its first consideration. Hopefully, House Democrats who maintain a slim majority, will advance the bill.

Here are some additional news topics and reminders I would like to share.

Free Mobile Shredding Event Planned – Do you have old documents with sensitive information that need to be disposed of safely? On Thursday, May 23, from 4-6 p.m.  at my Washington Township/Export Office in the Donal Plaza, I am hosting a free Mobile Shredding Event. I am excited to partner with the Westmoreland Food Bank to merge this event with a food drive to help local families.

There is a limit of two bags or boxes per household. Examples of items to be destroyed include bank and card statements, tax documents, insurance claim forms and anything else that lists a Social Security number. Staples, paper clips and manila folders are acceptable; however, books, magazines or metal binding materials other than staples cannot be shredded. 

The documents received are shredded in a truck on-site and then taken to a local paper recycling plant to be treated and reused. Only personal shredding is permitted. No documents from commercial businesses will be accepted.

Donations to the Westmoreland Food Bank are optional. Donations must be non-perishable foods in non-glass containers.

May is Bike Safety Month - Did you know anyone under the age of 12 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle in Pennsylvania? This law applies to anyone operating the bicycle, riding as a passenger, or riding in an attached restraining seat or trailer.

May is Bike Safety Month, and PennDOT is reminding bicycle enthusiasts of the following safety tips:
Always wear a properly fitted helmet. 
Ride on the right side of the road or trail, with the flow of traffic. 
Obey all traffic signs and signals. 
Slow down when you approach an intersection. 
Look left, right, and left again, then look over your shoulder before entering an intersection. 
Use proper hand signals when turning to communicate with drivers. 
Wear bright or reflective clothing to help drivers see you. 
Adjust the bicycle to fit you properly. 
Maintain your bike regularly to keep it working smoothly.  

Also, Pennsylvania law requires drivers to give bicyclists 4 feet of space when passing them at a reduced speed. When approaching a bike rider, slow down, check for oncoming traffic and decide if you can safely pass while maintaining the 4 feet distance.
Visit for more information about bicycle safety and Pennsylvania’s bicycle laws. 

Representative Jill Cooper
55th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jordan Frei
724-875-8450 /