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Laura Manion Spearheads Coalition of over 50 Chambers Statewide for Childcare Sign on Letter


The Chester, Delaware, and Westmoreland Chambers of Commerce have spearheaded the effort leading to over 50 business organizations across the Commonwealth sending a joint letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Governor Shapiro Administration, imploring them to address the crisis surrounding accessible and affordable childcare. The overwhelming support of 55 Chambers across the state, in addition to the PA Economic Development Association, reflects the severity of the childcare crisis and its impact on the business community through both the workforce and the economy. This grassroots initiative has garnered the attention of larger chambers, including the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, to help drive the necessity for new legislation.


Laura Manion, President & CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry (CCCBI), Dan DeBone, President & CEO of the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce, and Trish McFarland, President of the Delaware County Chamber have all been outspoken in previous calls for action, inspiring this coordinated effort.

“Prior to undertaking this effort, my knowledge surrounding the childcare shortage was not experiential, but rather, came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s data, which cited the statistics of millions of employees, mostly women, who were unable to return to work post-pandemic due to the lack of childcare,” said Manion. “It wasn’t until the birth of my son in 2022, coupled with hearing from employers in the CCCBI membership struggling to recruit and retain staff, that I saw my personal experience as just one piece of a multifaceted threat to Pennsylvania’s economy.” In January of 2023, Manion wrote an op-ed in the local newspaper on the issue, and the response was resoundingly positive with hundreds of thousands of views. In March, she testified before the House Children & Youth Committee Informational Meeting on the Challenges with Childcare in Pennsylvania.


Trish McFarland, President of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce has faced similar obstacles as a mother and a leader. “As the sole Chamber of Commerce within Delaware County with over 1,200 employers as members, we have been hearing from our membership about the lack of childcare and impact to the workforce,” Trish stated. She continued, “As a working mother of 3 children, I can attest first-hand that this struggle is real. We have worked hand-in-hand with our members in the childcare industry on bringing awareness to their various hardships.”


Dan DeBone, President of the Westmoreland County Chamber, has been just as vocal on the dependence of the economy on the childcare industry. In his article published in March of 2023, Addressing Pennsylvania’s Child-Care Crisis, DeBone highlighted the struggles of the Commonwealth’s labor force without reliable childcare and its subsequent effect on employers and the economy. “In order to solve the larger workforce issue, which in part is due to a lack of access to childcare, we need to make

sure the childcare industry can recruit and retain staff,” stated DeBone. “Stabilizing the industry will allow us to be successful in rolling out a variety of access solutions such as the tax credits.”


Collectively, the chambers have worked with their respective employer-members to outline the following solutions to be considered by elected officials:


1) Employee Childcare Public Private Partnership - Legislation to create a tax credit for employers who furnish employee childcare in the amount of the employer's cost in furnishing employee childcare. Legislation to incentivize employers to fund childcare for their employees by splitting the cost with the state, and providing tax credit incentives to employers who participate.

2) Childcare Tax Credit for Parents – Expanding the Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Program. Last year’s budget included funds for up to 30% of childcare-related expenses that filers claim on their federal return. This program is meant to support working families by lessening their tax liability. A total of $24.6 million went into the program for last FY and is now a permanent fixture of the state’s tax code. However, expanding the program will allow more middle-income parents to return to the workforce.

3) Retention and Recruitment – Proposals potentially being considered during the current state budget negotiation to offer rebates/incentives for nursing, teaching and policing jobs should be extended to the childcare community. Hiring incentives would be a great first step to address the ongoing issue of low wages ($12.43/hour statewide average) currently paid to childcare workers being a disincentive to join this critical field.

4) Regulatory Reform – The Chamber Community is advocating that any future regulatory proposals must ensure proper stakeholder input from childcare providers with special consideration to infant care. In addition, any changes do not lead to increased costs for providers.


The lack of accessible and affordable childcare is negatively impacting the economy and costing employers, our collective Chamber members, $2.88 billion and the state of Pennsylvania $3.47 billion in losses each year.


“We hope both parties in the House and Senate see the momentous support of our proposed solutions. To have 55 chamber executives from every region in the Commonwealth sign on in support of this initiative – we believe we are sending a clear message. It is time to make a commitment to future generations that will lay the foundation for a more prosperous economy,” stated Manion.


Legislative Update


CCCBI Government Affairs Committee Meets to Address Proposed Economic Reform Initiatives


Yesterday, CCCBI's Government Affairs Committee met to discuss a variety of subjects, including state budget negotiations this month. Negotiations could include a call for reformation of Pennsylvania's permitting process and business taxes. In the interest of changing the current economic trajectory, the current permitting processes must be modernized in order to keep up with the growth of the state and its business owners. There is direct correlation between rate at which permits are being approved, and the rate at which businesses are losing money and employees. This threat to the economy must be addressed by the Shapiro Administration, House, and Senate through permit reform. Similarly, the current business tax climate is extraordinarily high, costing both large and small businesses alike the growth opportunities needed to be competitive and prosperous. Proposed solutions offered include an increase in the Net Operating Loss cap, maintaining the CNIT rate reduction phasedown schedule, and building on small-business tax reforms. 


Updates were also given regarding the Pennsylvania Primary & Special Elections as well as to reform initiatives.


Lastly, the GAC Committee was excited to hear Lauran Manion, President of CCCBI, will be testifying Monday June 5th at the House Finance Committee hearing on a child care tax credit. CCCBI is ready to partner with those who are driven to make these changes for the betterment of our state and our Chester County community. 


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