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Give lawmakers credit

| Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

As noted in Colin McNickle's column “It's time to lead, Governor” (Dec. 2 and TribLIVE.com), big-ticket items — pension reform, transportation infrastructure funding, etc. — that will require bold leadership remain to be addressed by the General Assembly in the new year.

However, the swipe at legislative leaders' performance unfairly ignored some significant public-policy initiatives enacted over the past two years that will help boost economic/job growth in the commonwealth.

A sweeping unemployment compensation reform law addresses a multibillion-dollar debt, saves employers hundreds of millions of dollars and begins to restore the system to its safety-net intent. Tax reforms will help create a more competitive/efficient business tax climate. The decade-long fight for joint and several liability reform was realized, bringing Pennsylvania's unbalanced, unpredictable legal system more in line with competitor states.

A bipartisan, performance-based manufacturing tax credit gives Pennsylvania a leg up in securing a proposed petrochemical facility in Western Pennsylvania, a catalyst for growing this promising industry, generating potentially thousands of jobs. And a commitment to responsible government spending/budgeting is enabling the state to get its fiscal house in order.

Heavy lifting remains. But after eight years of defending against anti-jobs policies, progress is being realized, all of which will benefit the commonwealth, job creators and residents for the long term. For that, elected officials deserve credit.

Gene Barr

Harrisburg

The writer is president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (pachamber.org).

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