In this Update:
Advancing Pro-growth Policies for PA
This past week, the Senate Finance Committee, which I chair, advanced to the full state Senate two pro-growth tax reform bills.
Senate Bill 345 would accelerate the reduction of the Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT) by immediately dropping it to 7.99% and then reducing it an additional point every January until it falls to 4.99%.
A plan to reduce Pennsylvania’s CNI tax rate over the course of nine years was a component of the 2022-23 state budget, with the first percentage point drop, from 9.99% to 8.99%, taking effect in January 2023. Since this initial cut, Pennsylvania’s economy has shown signs of growth, including increased CNIT revenue collections in January, February, March and April compared to the same periods in 2022.
Studies have also shown that decreasing the CNIT leads to better job opportunities, higher workers’ wages and improved communities.
Senate Bill 346 seeks to gradually increase the Net Operating Loss (NOL) carryover limit, from the current 40% to 80%, over four years, bringing Pennsylvania in line with both the current federal limitation and the limitations of 48 other states.
These changes will go a long way toward keeping and growing the employers we already have, attracting more to Pennsylvania and truly making Pennsylvania highly competitive, certainly among our neighboring states in the northeast, but also with every state in the country.
Re-elected as Chair of Local Government Commission
This past week, I was unanimously re-elected chairman of the bicameral and bipartisan Local Government Commission of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
I have held this post since the beginning of the 2019-20 legislative session and I have served on the commission since the 2015-16 legislative session.
It is imperative to work together for our local governments and I am honored to continue serving as chairman of the commission. The Local Government Commission brings forth substantive measures to make our local governments more efficient and effective in their day-to-day functioning.
Created in 1935 by Act 102, the Local Government Commission is a legislative service agency comprised of five Senate members and five House members, appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively. The commission is tasked with collaborating in a bipartisan fashion to establish ways for our local governments to better serve their citizens.
As one of the oldest agencies of its kind in the country, the commission also conducts and facilitates research projects on matters important to all levels of local government. Several commission accomplishments include recodification of the County Code, Third Class City Code, Borough Code and Second Class Township Code.
Senate Acts to Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Taxpayers and Job Creators
The Senate approved a legislative package to reduce the burden of unchecked government regulations on taxpayers and job creators. The bills will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 188 requires regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million to go before the General Assembly for approval before taking effect. The Independent Fiscal Office, rather than the regulating agency, would be tasked with calculating the economic impact.
Senate Bill 190 requires an automatic review after three years of all regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million. The regulating agency must report to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on the effectiveness of the regulation, whether current state laws require the regulation’s repeal or amendment, and more.
Senate Bill 350 requires state agencies to create an accessible website for permit applicants to check their application status. In addition, all the permits issued must be publicly accessible and if rejected, it must state the legal authority the agency relies on to reject the permit application. It also requires that a permit, license or certification is deemed approved by the state if the agency reviewing the application misses its statutory deadline.
Senate Approves Measure to Improve Personal Financial Literacy
To teach high school students the financial basics, the Senate approved legislation that will enable them to make better decisions that lead to a lifetime of success and financial independence. Senate Bill 647 moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Recent estimates show there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and credit card owners average about four cards apiece. Families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion in debt overall.
The bill would give high school students the information they need on topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.
Measure Boosting Support for PA Veterans Approved by Senate
The Senate passed bills to help veterans start or expand a business, access programs and services available to them, and make it easier for disabled veterans to obtain a free lifetime fishing license. All three bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 248 would create the Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program, which would be funded with $5 million of existing dollars from another program run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The bill defines a veteran-owned business as one in which 51% or more of the organization is owned or controlled by one or more veterans. Veteran-owned businesses in America employ nearly four million workers and generate more than $175 billion in annual payroll.
Senate Bill 447 would establish in law the PA VETConnect program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and helps the commonwealth’s more than 700,000 veterans access programs and services tailored to their needs. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates – including staff at county veterans affairs offices – to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 411 would make it possible for disabled veterans with a 100% disability determination to obtain a free, lifetime fishing license. Free lifetime fishing licenses currently are available only to disabled veterans with a 100% permanent disability determination, and they must apply for a new free fishing license every year.
Legislation Expanding Access to Breast Cancer Screenings Signed Into Law
Recently signed into law, Act 1 of 2023 is a first-of-its-kind breast cancer screening measure that will save Pennsylvanians’ lives.
It eliminates all costs associated with genetic testing and counseling as well as breast MRI and ultrasounds for Pennsylvanians with high-risk conditions like dense breast tissue, a personal history of breast cancer, a family history, a genetic predisposition or prior radiation therapy.
Approximately one of every eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, but this law will ensure that high-risk individuals have affordable access to early detection.
The new law takes effect in 60 days.
Recognizing Police Officers’ Memorial Day
In recognition of Police Officers’ Memorial Day in Pennsylvania, as designated by Senate Resolution 111, the Fraternal Order of Police joined Senate Republicans to honor the brave law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year. The five officers were:
Like so many other members of law enforcement, these officers served and protected their fellow citizens – despite knowing the sacrifices they and their families would have to make. Thank you to each brave man and woman who defend the safety of our communities.
Celebrating Mother’s Day
To all the women who put their family first, thank you for being such a source of strength and support in our communities. Happy Mother’s Day!
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