MBA Supports Manufacturers in Pennsylvania


Many Of These Operations Are Family Owned Businesses

Eileen Anderson is the director of Government Relations for the Manufacturer & Business Association, which merged with SMC Business Councils in 2019. Contact her at 412/805-5707 or

Manufacturing is important to the economies of Pennsylvania and the United States. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, “2020 Pennsylvania Manufacturing Facts,” total U.S. manufacturing output in 2018 was nearly $94 billion. Pennsylvania had more than 560,000 manufacturing employees in 2019 with an average compensation of $75,000.

The Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) makes it our business to support manufacturers, many of which are family owned businesses.

We are four months away from MBA’s Manufacturing Day on October 13, a celebration of manufacturing. That event exposes hundreds of students to careers in the new world of manufacturing and aligns with MBA’s goal of filling the pipeline with potential workers.

The MBA heard members’ responses to our Government Affairs 2020 Survey. Nearly half of the respondents were manufacturers. When asked what they would want legislators to know about their issues and/ or business, one said, “It seems like the small manufacturer has been forgotten.

Making stuff isn’t a big deal any longer. That needs to change. It’s not all a service economy.”

Hearing that and similar comments, the MBA has taken another step to support manufacturers by working with Representative Donna Oberlander, co-chair of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Manufacturing Caucus. The MBA arranges visits for Oberlander and lawmakers to tour facilities and meet with employers and employees. All are educated on the factory floor: “What works?” “What doesn’t work?” “What are possible solutions?”

One of the most important steps MBA has taken to support manufacturing is the creation of an advocacy agenda dedicated to strengthening Pennsylvania manufacturers. Manufacturers, like other businesses, require manageable health insurance costs, willing workers, sensible regulations, the ability to set employees’ wages and tax parity.

Association Health Plans

Smaller employers need access to affordable health insurance and, in many cases, do not have it. The cost of health- care services continues to rise and drives the cost of health insurance premiums higher. Association health plans, which allow small employers to group together and enjoy the benefits available to larger businesses, may help reduce insurance premiums. Health insurance coverage is inextricably intertwined with the ability for smaller employers to recruit and retain workers.

A Pipeline of Workers

Pennsylvania needs a willing and qualified workforce trained for jobs of the future. The need for workers is one of the most common issues raised by employers who are seeking to maintain or expand their businesses. It is critical to retain current workers and attract new workers to replace senior level talent walking out the door to retirement.

Employers Require the Ability to Set Wages

A mandated increase in the minimum wage to $12 per hour would impact smaller businesses more than any other segment of the economy because they offer more entry-level jobs. It is in direct conflict with the need to build a qualified workforce because those who will bear the brunt of the mandate are young people who desperately need starter jobs for an introduction to the world of work.

Sensible Regulations

Pennsylvania needs regulatory policies that balance public safety and protect our economy without placing undue financial burdens, red tape, and compliance mazes on businesses. State regulations multiply when we are not watching and, unfortunately, federal and local regulations are stacked on top resulting in an accumulation of rules which may dampen growth.

Tax Parity for Pass-Through Businesses The vast majority of manufacturers are organized as pass-through businesses. Aligning Pennsylvania’s Section 179 direct expensing allowance with federal Section 179 will give a major boost to the 850,000 Pennsylvania businesses who file at the pass-through rate.

View the MBA’s 2021 state position papers at benefits/government-affairs/government- advocacy/.