NEW CASTLE —
What do businesses want from government?
Pretty much what the average individual wants. Businesses want reliable services, ranging from plowed streets in the winter to functioning sewer lines.
And they want taxes that are reasonable and don’t take a big bite out of budgets. Money that doesn’t go to government is available for other purposes.
But there’s something else business needs from Washington. And that’s a measure of predictability. They need to know what government has in mind in a variety of areas, not only in terms of what taxes are imposed, but what government intends to buy and programs it intends to pursue.
Plus, businesses need a sense of what sort of rules and regulations will be in place. They need to know the financial and staffing resources they will need to remain compliant with the law.
And that has been a big problem lately. In many ways, businesses are stuck in neutral, unable to properly plan for the future because they aren’t certain of the direction Washington intends to go with taxing and spending policies.
This is a problem for individuals too; we don’t mean to minimize that. But we think it’s safe to say that government fiscal policies have a broader impact on businesses and what they do, compared to the average individual.
Much has been made of the fact the current economic recovery has been anemic. Yes, the unemployment rate is dropping and things are starting to pick up here and there.
And various factors explain this slow growth, including serious economic problems overseas. But one key issue is the listing ship of state directed by the politicians in Washington.
You may have noticed that the stock market reacted favorably to last week’s agreement on tax rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 300 points in a single day.
That was because an element of uncertainty was eliminated. Unfortunately, plenty of other question marks linger into the future. Some are literally weeks away, as Congress still must deal with spending issues. Others involve longer-term questions of the national debt and the health of programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The benefits of resolving uncertainty in constructive fashion are self evident. Yet Washington appears to be utterly incapable of doing so. Virtually every move Congress makes is steeped in ideological division. Last week’s agreement on taxes ultimately was a relatively straightforward matter that could have been achieved months ago. But political posturing and head butting were deemed to be more important.
Why? One big reason is the way members of Congress are elected today. More on that tomorrow.
NEW CASTLE —
What do businesses want from government?
Our Opinion: Lousy voter turnout is a missed opportunity
Tuesday’s primary in Lawrence County had its share of winners and losers. But — based on the numbers — the biggest winner has to be voter apathy. Countywide, voter turnout in the primary was a whopping 17.1 percent. In case you missed it, our use of the term “whopping” is sarcasm.
Our Opinion: Pennsylvania’s primary system is controlled by parties
Should Pennsylvania’s primaries be open to independent voters? That’s an interesting question and one we have explored in the past on this page.
Our Opinion: State audit says city school district failed to collect from non-residents
Audit information about non-resident students who didn’t pay tuition at New Castle raises more questions than it answers. At least so far. We expect more details when the Pennsylvania auditor general’s office completes its report and the New Castle school district provides its response.
Our Opinion: Make the most of your power to vote by casting ballot tomorrow
So what kind of turnout will there be for tomorrow’s primary? Recent history suggests somewhere between low and lousy. This year’s elections are devoted to local races, and there are few major ones being contested in the primary.
Our Opinion: Privatization of county jail is worthy of examination
Generally speaking, we support government efforts to seek more efficient ways to provide essential services. So we have no problem with the decision by the Lawrence County commissioners to solicit proposals for the private operation of the county jail.
Our Opinion: We endorse candidates for New Castle board
The New Castle school district is often a study in contrasts. There are complaints about the district on everything from taxes to nepotism, from test scores to ethical slights. Yet at the same time, plenty of students within the district excel. It’s a tribute to the hard work of those students, their families and the educators who support them.
Our Opinion: You should be frightened, outraged by IRS abuse of power
When people talk about government posing a threat to citizens, a common topic these days is unmanned drones. But a more credible threat may be the Internal Revenue Service. This agency, responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing related rules, has the ability to make life miserable for the average individual.
Our Opinion: Our endorsements for City Council race
The city of New Castle needs help. Financially distressed and operating under Pennsylvania’s Act 47, New Castle must find ways to reverse its population loss and fiscal challenges.
Our Opinion: Court frowns on gerrymandering, but only slightly
Pennsylvania legislators have received the green light to put their own political interests ahead of yours. That’s a key point in the latest Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling on legislative apportionment in the commonwealth.
Our Opinion: Study says distracted driving deaths are under reported
Suppose you operated a piece of heavy machinery at your job. And suppose it’s machinery that moves quickly with little effort. What would happen if you decided to take one hand off that equipment — while it was still in motion — and instead focused your attention on a telephone call?
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- Our Opinion: Lousy voter turnout is a missed opportunity