Referring to skyrocketing corporate profits and fuel and consumer goods prices, House Democrats on Wednesday questioned corporate prices, saying they would exacerbate the inflation crisis.
Members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard testimony about the impact the consolidation of businesses such as the energy sector, controlled by a handful of companies, would have on Pennsylvania consumers.
He highlighted three bills aimed at curbing monopoly practices.
“The act of raising prices is a patriotic act and should be called for,” said Rep. Said Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne.
The hearing followed a series of hearings by the Republican Policy Committee on Inflation, which focused on regulatory changes that reduce consumer prices and boost investment and economic growth in Pennsylvania.
The Stop the Pricing Act, Rep. Sponsored by Nick Pisciotano, D-Allegheny, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office will increase the authority to investigate and prosecute price-fixing. This creates protection against retaliation and incentives for whistleblowers who report anti-competitive activity.
The bill addresses decades of court decisions that have more evidence on plaintiffs in lawsuits against compromising companies by directing the courts to consider certain facts and actions as primary evidence of conciliation.
The End the Gas Prices ActHouse Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, and Rep. Sponsored by Ryan Bizarro, D-Erie, which prohibits gas stations to be increased more than once every 24 hours, five other states have done so to prevent abusive price increases.
The Pennsylvania Open Markets ActRep. Co-sponsored by Sarah Inamorato, D-Allegheny and Pizziotano, the state modernizes anti-trust laws by increasing the power of attorney general to investigate and prosecute violations.
The panel heard testimony from Lee Hepner, legal adviser to the San Francisco-based American Economic Liberties Project, who said inflation is a major concern for Pennsylvania residents. He noted a Suffolk University / USA Today network survey in which the number of Pennsylvanians who said the economy was in poor condition, increased to 45 percent in 2018 compared to 12 percent.
If external influences such as the war in Ukraine increase inflation, the problem is exacerbated by companies that record record profits at the same time as raw material prices rise, Hepner said.
Hepner said the consolidation of key industries would increase the chances of a deal because it would be easier for a smaller number of companies to agree to increase prices and reduce the chance of rivals going against them.
The Stop Price Fixing Act addresses judicial rulings that make existing antitrust laws almost unenforceable, forcing victims of price-fixing to present more detailed evidence before they have the opportunity to investigate and find it.
On Wednesday afternoon, House Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, urged members to support a slate of legislation that would force residents to make stressful decisions between purchases that require a board and send retired people back to work. To meet the ends.
“I can tell you who’s not under pressure, and that’s corporations,” said Lt. Gov. Democratic nominee Davis.