Lancaster County is blessed to have a long history of hard work, independence, and a strong and diverse economy. Prior to COVID-19, our entrepreneurs and businesses had achieved an extraordinary level of success. We had the lowest unemployment in a generation and rising wages, especially for low- to middle-income workers.
Our goal in county government is to set the conditions for that success — through low taxes, collaboration, and by helping to reduce burdens on businesses so they can do what they do best. We are fortunate to have a president and federal administration that are aligned with us on those goals. Results do not lie, and the results of this approach could not have been any better.
Recently, we were proud to represent Lancaster County on the South Lawn at the White House, together with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and state and local leaders from around the country, for a ceremony recognizing the success of this approach. County commissioners of both parties in Pennsylvania will tell you there has never been an administration more in touch with commissioners — seeking feedback, listening and collaborating.
This approach and this administration’s historic effort to cut through government red tape resulted in igniting our economy like a rocket in 2016. Unfortunately, COVID-19 brought this roaring economy to an unexpected screeching halt. In order to recover quickly and fight our way back to prosperity, we must continue this demonstrably successful approach.
Among the many successes being celebrated at the White House were the facts that:
— Under Trump’s leadership, federal agencies have taken more than seven deregulatory actions for every significant regulatory action.
— Deregulation is lowering costs for all Americans, particularly benefiting low-income individuals who are disproportionately burdened by overregulation.
— The administration cut red tape in the health care industry, providing Americans with more affordable health care and saving Americans nearly 10% on prescription drugs.
— The president’s deregulatory actions will increase household income annually by at least $3,100 in the coming years.
These actions have a direct impact on Lancaster County. As a growing community, our economy is greatly impacted by construction and infrastructure projects. For instance, nearly a third of the cost of housing construction is due to regulations. In Lancaster County, that translated to nearly $38 million in costs because of federal regulations in 2019.
Transportation projects are vitally important to Lancaster County. Many mid- to large-size projects are funded with federal dollars. Receiving federal approval of critical projects adds years and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to projects with no tangible benefits because of the myriad regulations. In comparing two similar Lancaster County projects, federal regulations doubled the amount of time and nearly tripled the cost of the one funded with federal dollars.
The pre-COVID-19 Lancaster County economy, which was the greatest in a generation, did not happen by accident. It was the result of hard work by entrepreneurs, business owners and workers. But it was also the result of low taxes and historic deregulation — which reduced unnecessary government burdens on entrepreneurs, freeing them to reach their full potential while also saving taxpayer funds. That is one of the great promises of America — the freedom to start a business, work hard and do well for your family and your community.
Lancaster County has a long and proud tradition of success with this proven and successful approach. Together we can do it again and reignite our economic engine.
Republicans Ray D’Agostino and Josh Parsons are members of the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners.