Pence pitches tax reform plan in York County Saturday

Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in York County Saturday, Nov. 4, to discuss the GOP's tax reform proposal with local business owners, and the emphasis was on learning.

"The president sent me here to listen and to learn," he said.

Pence participated in a discussion with U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, and local business owners to hear firsthand how the plan would affect businesses.

U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, left, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participate in a round table discussion during Pence's visit to Military & Commercial Fasteners Corporation in Manchester Township, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

More:VP Pence visiting York County business Saturday to talk tax plan

More:OPED: Is Pence a leader we want?

At least 100 people lined up at 10 a.m. to await the arrival of Pence at Military and Commercial Fasterners Corp., 11 Grumbacher Road, in Manchester Township.

Many were dressed in red ties or blazers — a few with hats marked with Pesident Trump's Make America Great Again campaign slogan — to show their support for the Republican vice president.

Republican Seth Sederstrom, of West York, was looking forward to hearing about the tax reform. He said the current plan was "complicated, overbloated and punches the working people."

He wants to see a lot of tax cuts, especially for the middle class, and a drop in the corporate tax rate.

Employees of the company said they felt honored to host Vice President Pence.

"I get to say tomorrow morning that he sat in my chair," said 15-year employee Tionie Likes, who said Pence was expected to use her office during his visit.

She left him a note on her office white board: "It's an honor to share my office with you."

"I hope he signs it," Likes said.

The manufacturing company, covering the aerospace, defense and commercial manufacturing markets since 1972, saw a 30 percent increase in business this year, with 19 jobs added, representatives said.

The company has its headquarters in York County and  also has offices in Georgia and Indiana.

Employee Steve Billett, left, and Operations Manger Jason Siewert, right, of Military & Commercial Fasteners Corporation talk to Vice President Mike Pence during a tour of the business in Manchester Township, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The vice president toured the facility before beginning the round-table discussion about 12:30 p.m. Businesses big and small were represented, ranging from printing and photography companies to music centers, doughnut shops, mini golf courses and dancewear shops.

Mike Harbaugh, owner of Yogey's Mini Golf and Ice Cream Parlor in Lebanon, said he was surprised to be included in the discussion because his business was "super small."

Pence posed three questions to the business owners around him: How important are tax cuts to your business? What's the most important part of the president's tax reform plan? And what would you do with the tax cut if you got it?

Business owners and attendees who watched the roundtable discussion were concerned with getting rid of tax loopholes and unnecessary rules and regulations that hurt businesses and with the need to keep up with competitive pricing. 

Harbaugh said he has to pay a $500 grease tax, and he doesn't even deal with grease in his business.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a visit to Military & Commercial Fasteners Corporation in Manchester Township, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

More:Vice President Mike Pence leaves 49ers-Colts game after players protest during anthem

More:What to know about the GOP tax plan if you have kids

Others were more concerned with simplifying the tax code.

Toby Swain, whose wife is involved with Perry's campaign, said that including the tax worksheets, he had 400 pages of tax forms this year.

Pence commended the growth of the economy and said Trump's tax-reform plan would build on that growth.

The plan, which proposes lowering taxes for businesses of every size, would boost the economy and create more jobs, because if business owners have more money to invest in their own company, they will be more able to invest in others, such as drivers, suppliers and vendors, he said, agreeing with a point made by Maple Donuts owner Charlie Burnside.

Pence promised what "may well be the largest tax cut in American history," which the president calls "the middle-class miracle."

"We need to see tax cuts for the people of Pennsylvania, and we need to see it this year," he said.

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Luzerne County, who served with Pence his first two years in Congress, shared the vice president's enthusiasm, commending the tax plan for serving the middle class — the "forgotten" people for whom Trump campaigned.  

In his final remarks, Pence laid out his promises for the tax plan if it passes in Congress.

The first $24,000 in income for working families will be completely tax free, he said.

He also proposed a plan to end estate taxes, make businesses competitive again, cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and allow 90 percent of American people to file their taxes on a single piece of paper.

Derek Siewert, son of Military and Commercial Fasteners Corp. owners Craig and Michelle Siewert, said he was grateful that Pence came to York County. He said it was a "once-in-a-lifetime (experience) for us as business owners."