By Peter Calcara, Vice President - Government Relations
State lawmakers reconvene in Harrisburg today, Monday, Sept. 15, for the abbreviated fall legislative session. Senators are scheduled to be in session for 10 days, while their colleagues in the House have 11 days on their calendar. The PICPA is geared up for this two-week blitz, and we hope to finish the 2013-2014 session on a strong note.
House Republicans want to take up some form of pension reform legislation, but with the November election only a few weeks away it is unlikely that we will see a floor vote on any proposal. Another bill drawing a lot of interest, House Bill 1177, would allow the city of Philadelphia to add a $2 tax onto the price of a pack of cigarettes. The annual $80 million in new revenue is earmarked to help the city’s financially distressed school system. A House vote on HB 1177 is expected in the near future.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi has indicated that he will bring up for a vote legislation that would allow the sale of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. One issue in particular in the Senate has the PICPA on high alert. Senate Bill 76 is a pseudo-property tax reform proposal, and some state lawmakers are pushing for a vote. The PICPA and a broad-based coalition are adamantly opposed to the ill-advised plan.
The PICPA has two proposals it is pushing toward the legislative goal line. HB 336 would allow CPAs and other licensees under the jurisdiction of the Department of State to remove certain minor infractions from their permanent record, and HB 359 conforms the annual Pennsylvania filing deadline for public charities to that of federal law. Both bills have passed the House and are pending in the Senate.
Other proposals in the legislative queue include Medicaid expansion, a minimum wage increase, and an extraction tax on natural gas drilling. These issues, along with liquor privatization, are popular campaign topics, but a vote on any of these proposals in either the House or Senate is highly unlikely.
The Nov. 4 election is less than two months away. If you’re still undecided on how you’re going to vote in the race for governor, I urge you to read PICPA’s interviews with the gubernatorial candidates
Lastly, I also encourage you to make a contribution to CPA-PAC
. This is an important election year for the PICPA. In addition to the governor’s race, all five CPA legislators are up for reelection. CPA-PAC is fully engaged in their reelection efforts, but we need your financial support. Less than 5 percent of PICPA members support the CPA-PAC. It’s time you do your part.