including a legislative update, upcoming events, and more!

Chamber News


Thank You to our Summer Solstice Sponsors!


The Chester County Chamber Foundation is taking a moment to thank all of the generous sponsors for the 2024 Summer Solstice!


With their support, we are able to create a lasting impact for the next generation of leaders through our Youth Leadership Program and the charitable initiatives of the Foundation.


We look forward to celebrating our Foundation later this evening!


Stay tuned next week for a special recap, photos, and an exclusive video from our Media Sponsor, Kamelot Productions!


Legislative Update


Budget Deal Remains Elusive


The Pennsylvania General Assembly is scheduled to return the last week of June to potentially finalize budget negotiations. While the state budget is mandated by the Commonwealth’s Constitution to be balanced and finalized by June 30th, it has often gone well past that deadline. This includes as recently as 2023, Governor Josh Shapiro’s first year in office, when the budget was not officially finalized until December of that year.  Even in mid-June, it is unclear if 2024 will see a similar impasse; nevertheless, what will be included in the final package?


Many items have been positioned by the House and Senate for potential inclusion and trades. This includes legislation, SB269, recently passed by the Senate that eliminates the state gross receipts tax on electric bills and reduces the personal income taxes from 3.07 percent to 2.8 percent. The General Assembly is also considering changes to Net Operating Loss tax implications within this year’s budget.


Increasing the Commonwealth’s minimum wage remains on the table with several different proposals being introduced.  Senate Democrats recently called for a “Living Wage ” of $20 per hour, allowing municipalities to set a local minimum wage greater than the state minimum wage and setting the tipped wage to 70% of the minimum wage.  Governor Shapiro’s FY24 budget proposal does call for an increase of the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour, and the Pennsylvania House has already passed a bill, HB1500, that increases the state minimum wage to $11 at the start of 2024, $13 in 2025, and $15 in 2026. 


Basic education funding is always an annual negotiation, and this year is no different. The House of Representatives recently passed legislation to support Governor Shapiro’s proposal for a $ 1 billion increase of spending for basic education to address a Commonwealth Court decision in 2023 that ruled that Pennsylvania’s school funding system is unconstitutional and must be reformed. HB2370 passed the full House on June 10th with 5 Republican votes and is based on the recommendations of the Basic Education Funding Commission following a 2023 Commonwealth Court decision that ruled the state’s existing school funding formula is unconstitutional and ordered the legislature to fix it. The future of this bill remains unclear in the Senate, but last year, GOP leadership in the Senate, as well as Governor Shapiro, Jeff Yass, and rapper Jay-Z, want to see the state adopt a school voucher program for public schools.  Indeed, the Senate Education Committee passed legislation, SB795, in May that would establish the PASS (Pennsylvania Award for Student Success) Program to provide students in low-performing schools with scholarships to attend the school of their choice.


Next, the Governor’s call for higher education reform within his budget address has led the Senate to pass a counter-proposal, Grow PA. This package includes a grant program (SB1150) for in-state students who attend college in Pennsylvania to pursue a degree in a high-demand industry, a scholarship program (SB1151) to help attract high-performing out-of-state students to Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools also for in-demand occupations, expansion (SB1152) of an existing program which provides scholarships to good students to cover the cost of post-secondary education and a separate program (SB1153) for students in the foster care system and children who were adopted in Pennsylvania qualify for financial aid and tuition waivers, legislation (SB1154) to add performance-based metrics to funding for state-related universities, and developing a special task force (SB1155) to review additional improvements to higher education and career preparation programs going forward, including increasing community college transfers, expanding dual enrollment, encouraging employer incentives, increasing student enrollment from other states, and boosting efficiencies in higher education.


Budget negotiations could also lead to trades on other items, such as additional funding for mass transit by transferring an additional 1.75 percent of state sales tax revenue into the Public Transportation Trust Fund, changes to the regulation and taxing of video gamingfamily and medical leaveelection reformunemployment compensationhousing measures, and changes to the state’s energy policies.


Member Spotlight


Applebrook Golf Club


Applebrook Golf Club proudly unveils its ecologically friendly Brecker Turf Care Center, heralding a new era of sustainability and operational excellence in golf course management under the leadership of Chuck Lawson, President of Applebrook Golf Club, and Jared Viarengo, CGCS, Director of Grounds and Club Operations.

Nestled within East Goshen Township parkland, the Brecker Turf Care Center represents a pinnacle of environmental stewardship. It features innovative facilities and amenities designed to prioritize employee comfort, operational efficiency, and resource conservation.


The administrative portion of the facility boasts high-speed data and Wi-Fi connections, providing employees with seamless access to vital resources while minimizing paper waste. Additionally, new locker rooms, break rooms, and bathrooms have been thoughtfully designed to enhance employee well-being and foster a culture of sustainability and camaraderie. The infrastructure improvements will position Applebrook Golf Club well to maximize its use of electric-powered equipment, which is quiet and has zero-carbon emissions.


At the heart of the Brecker Turf Care Center lies a dedicated area for Equipment Technicians to repair and maintain turf equipment with minimal environmental impact. Furthermore, the center features advanced systems such as the PlantStar Mix-Load system and Carbtrol Wash Water Recycling system, which optimize resource utilization and prevent environmental contamination. Chuck Lawson, President of Applebrook Golf Club, stated, "By prioritizing sustainability in every aspect of our operations, we aim to set a new standard for golf course management while preserving the natural beauty of our surroundings." Tony Nichols, Founder and Former Club President , added "We are thrilled to inaugurate the Brecker Turf Care Center as a testament to our unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship. The environmental and physical improvements convinced our membership that this was a worthwhile investment.”


Jared Viarengo, CGCS Director of Grounds and Club Operations, said, "The Brecker Turf Care Center represents a significant milestone in our journey toward environmental sustainability. With its state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technologies, we are better equipped than ever to uphold the highest course maintenance standards while minimizing our environmental footprint."


As Applebrook Golf Club continues its journey toward environmental sustainability, the Brecker Turf Care Center stands as a beacon of innovation and responsibility, reflecting the club's dedication to protecting the environment for generations to come.


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