Categorized | CPA, Tax, Trade

The Coalition for a Prosperous America and the Western PA Economic Summit Task Force Working Group plan trade and tax policy hearing

The following was an article by Malia Spencer published in the Pittsburgh Business Times on Friday, 8/20/10 about CPA’s Western PA Task Force Policy Hearing on 8/25/10. Click here to get to the article online.

Building off the economic gathering held here in April, members of two groups are convening a hearing on trade and tax policy to craft a platform to take to the region’s legislators.

The platform is intended to help design federal policy that can create manufacturing jobs and long-term economic recovery.

The working group, made up of members of the Western PA Economic Summit Task Force Working Group and the Coalition for a Prosperous America, is part of the three-year-old national coalition’s effort to bring together manufacturing, labor and agricultural interests, as well as citizens and the local government, to influence trade policy and boost the domestic economy.

In April, the groups had more than 100 people gather in Cranberry to determine the top two economic development priorities that would have the most impact on jobs and economic recovery.

From that meeting, the group found that rebalancing trade and establishing a smart tax policy should be the overriding strategies, said Dave Frengel, director of government affairs at Penn United Technologies and chairman of the Pennsylvania state chapter of the CPA.

“That was the first step,” he said of the April summit. “(Now) what do we really think will really bring back the economy, and what does that mean? How do you rebalance trade? What is a smart tax system?”

To answer those questions, the group is bringing in three experts to the meeting Wednesday to help formulate solutions that can be presented to legislators ahead of policy debates. They are: Charles Blum, president of International Advisory Services Group, and former diplomat and negotiator for the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Trade Representative; Robert Baugh, executive director of AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council; and Robert E. Scott, senior international economist and director of International Programs for the Economic Policy Institute.

Though rebalancing the trade deficit is the No. 1 priority, Frengel noted the group is not against the U.S. forging trade agreements.

“We want robust trade law enforcement,” he said. “We want the rules of free trade to be enforced.”

In addition to addressing trade agreement scofflaws, the government must address the high amount of imports coming in, which could be a place for smarter taxes that can encourage domestic investment and discourage offshoring, he said.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce released June trade figures that showed the trade deficit grew to $49.9 billion, up from $42 billion in May. That means the country imported more than was exported.

The trade deficit for goods and services increased $22.8 billion from June 2009 to June 2010, according to government figures. Exports were up in that time frame 17 percent, but imports were up even higher.

The increasing imports must be addressed as part of the country’s overall strategy if the president’s export initiative is to succeed, Frengel said.

The Center for Prosperous America has been working closely with the group of stakeholders assembled by Frengel, said the group’s CEO, Michael Stummo. The grass-roots organization developing in western Pennsylvania is seen as a model for the larger organization, he said.

“We want the chambers of commerce, the manufacturers, the farmers and the labor associations to hear further evidence on how to balance trade and how to make the tax system smarter so as to promote a sustainable economic recovery for the purpose of providing leadership and guidance to elected officials,” Stummo said.

Trade and tax policy hearing
Hosted by the Coalition for a Prosperous America and the Western PA Economic Summit Task Force Working Group
What: A hearing featuring experts in trade and tax policy to help participants in the manufacturing, economic development, business and labor sectors better communicate their needs to legislators
When: 8:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 25
Where: The Carpenters Training Center, 652 Ridge Road, Pittsburgh 15205
To register: Go to the CPA website,

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