Groups push back against energy tax legislation

HARRISBURG (AP) — Business groups warned Tuesday that a state Senate-passed proposal to increase energy taxes will hurt the industry’s competitive standing, trigger higher bills for consumers and frighten away investment.

The groups said the proposal will be borne disproportionately by manufacturers that purchase large amounts of energy and argued that tax increases by way of consumers’ utility bills lack transparency.

Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, urged lawmakers to avoid “business-to-business” taxes and said they should try to “spread the burden more evenly.”

He sidestepped a question about what alternative approach he would endorse.

“We would just simply encourage them to look at being very cautious about what you do,” he said, adding that any additional revenues should be accompanied by measures to address civil litigation rules, wider tax issues and labor rights.