Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, explore the opportunities behind Governor Tom Corbett’s 2011-2012 budget in the below op-ed.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has presented a 2011-2012 budget that brings spending back to pre-recession levels by following 3 key principles: it does not contain new taxes, the projected spending is kept in line with the available revenue, and cuts that were made were targeted rather than across-the board.

Pennsylvania is not alone in facing cuts and difficult choices on state spending. The National Association of State Budget Officers describes these as the worst financial times for states since the end of World War II. States across the US are seeing revenues and expenditures that remain below pre-recession levels.

But, tough times are also good times to stop and think about what’s important in growing the economy of Pennsylvania. We are turning the corner and we want to be ready for the opportunities ahead.

To create a more competitive business climate and produce jobs, Governor Corbett’s proposed budget continues the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, resuming the scheduled elimination of this onerous tax on Pennsylvania’s employers. This phase-out sends the right message to business decision-makers who are considering an investment in Pennsylvania.

As a strong and consistent advocate for civil justice reform, the Governor is also encouraging the General Assembly to re-enact the Fair Share Act, a reform measure to improve the state’s legal environment that will help to attract and retain employers.

The Governor has also indicated a willingness to consider improving our business climate in future years with the elimination of the cap on the Net Operating Loss carryforward, which is important to start-up companies and those in cyclical industries and in addressing the high Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate. Most of the time, we want to be Number One. But our position as having the highest CNI rate in the country is one we’d like to leave behind.

The business leadership of our two largest regions, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, is also focusing on the opportunities ahead.<