Legislative Update - Week Ending May 13, 2022

by PICPA Government Relations | May 13, 2022


Election Day in Pennsylvania Is May 17

Pennsylvania’s primary election is this Tuesday, May 17. Voters will decide which candidates will represent Republicans and Democrats as their party’s nominees in the November general election. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

To prepare you for this election, the PICPA government relations team and Spotlight on Pennsylvania present, Know Your Candidates: A Primary Guide. This is an overview of your primary election options at both the state and federal levels.

Since Pennsylvania is a closed primary state, only registered Democrats may vote for contending Democrats and only registered Republicans can vote for Republican candidates. Third-party and unaffiliated voters may only vote on ballot questions during the primary.

Click here to find your polling place.

 

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PICPA Advocacy Update with Rep. Matt Bradford

As state lawmakers head into June with the impending budget deadline approaching, the PICPA and the CPA-PAC are hosting a virtual State Advocacy Update with House Democratic Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) on Thursday, May 26, starting at 10:00 a.m. Get the latest on negotiations, learn more about what tax proposals are on the table, and get briefed on how the PICPA is helping state lawmakers parse through the many proposals pending before the General Assembly. Register for this session today. 

In case you missed it, PICPA members can watch our Offer in Compromise Program with the Philadelphia Department of Revenue. Learn which debt is eligible, how to submit a request, and what documents are required. 

 

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Pa. Senate Democratic Leaders Call for Historic Investments

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) urged the legislature to invest in Pennsylvania families. The senators made the announcement following April’s record revenue collections.

Costa explained the state has $2.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund and an additional $2.2 billion in unspent American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. He stated the funds could be used for “generational investments in education,” allowing school districts to lower property taxes and cut the corporate net income tax for businesses.

Hughes, citing the strong financial foundation the state has built, said the funds could be used to “cut school property tax, fund anti-violence programs, cut business taxes, make investments in higher education and efforts to cut student loan debt, build more housing to increase inventory and lower overall home costs, and put $2,000 in people’s pockets.”

According to the senators, the total General Fund collection for this fiscal year is $40.7 billion, which is 12.4% higher than projected, and Pennsylvania revenue collections have met or exceeded estimates for 15 months in a row. Revenues have grown steadily by $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion per year. Nationally recognized economic forecasting firms Moody’s Analytics and IHS Markit project a continued, steady revenue growth for Pennsylvania over the coming years. 

 

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Senator Calls for Clarifying Work-from-Home Tax Rules

State Sen. Kristen Phillips-Hill (R-York) is preparing legislation that will clarify state law for residents who work for out-of-state employers.

“Many companies invested significantly in remote working over the last two years,” Phillips-Hill said. “Our state’s tax laws complicate this issue. For example, a major corporation located south of my district and based and domiciled in Maryland allows its employees the option to work from home. However, employees who reside in Pennsylvania (and in my district) are prevented from enjoying this opportunity because the corporate net income tax (CNIT) would be triggered by an employee with a flexible work structure who would work some days from their home.”

Phillips-Hill’s legislation would codify an exception pertaining to Pennsylvanians who work for employers that are based out-of-state by allowing employees to work from home, if allowed by their employer, up to 50% of the year without triggering the CNIT.

The PICPA State Taxation Steering Committee is reviewing the proposal.

 

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Wolf Highlights $1.9 Billion Public Education Plan

In a visit to a school in Wilkes-Barre, Gov. Tom Wolf highlighted his funding plan for public education. In his budget outlined last February, Wolf called on state lawmakers to build on his administration's previous investments with a $1.9 billion increase in education funding from pre-K through college.

Highlights of the governor’s plan include the following:

  • $70 million for Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance
  • $1.25 billion in basic education funding through the Fair Funding Formula, bringing the total going through the formula to more than $2 billion, or 26.5% of state funding
  • $300 million increase for Level Up
  • $200 million increase for special education
  • $125 million for higher education institutions

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

 

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Corman Announces Plan to Examine Use of Bitcoin

As more countries move toward accepting Bitcoin as legal tender, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) announced plans to create a task force that would include the state treasurer, representatives of the state’s major public employee pension funds, and other financial and policy experts to study how federal policy changes related to digital currency could benefit Pennsylvania.

Corman points to several examples of its growing use. An estimated 2,300 U.S. companies accept Bitcoin as payment, including major companies like Microsoft, Home Depot, and Starbucks. El Salvador last year became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender, and several other countries have drafted legislation to do the same.

The Biden administration issued an executive order in March calling on federal agencies to study the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies. Last week, California became the first state in the nation to formally begin analyzing how to adapt to digital currencies. Last month, Corman said, Fort Worth, Texas, became the first city government in the United States to mine Bitcoin.

Lawmakers created a sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of computer data center equipment as part of last year’s budget negotiations, paving the way for data mining companies to come to Pennsylvania and create thousands of new jobs. A similar program created in Virginia in 2017 has created more than 45,000 new jobs and leveraged $10 billion in private investment, Corman noted.

 

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REAL ID Update

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding residents that enforcement of the federal REAL ID Act will begin May 3, 2023. To date, PennDOT has issued approximately 1.6 million REAL ID products. REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver's licenses and ID cards.

After the scheduled date, Pennsylvanians will have to present a federally accepted form of identification to board a commercial domestic flight or visit a secure federal building that requires ID to enter. Federally accepted forms of identification include a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. passport or passport card, or a military ID.

More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and information on documents required for REAL ID, can be found at www.penndot.gov/REALID.

 

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About PICPA

The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) is a premier statewide association of more than 22,000 members working in public accounting, industry, government, and education. Founded in 1897, the PICPA is the second-oldest and fourth-largest state CPA organization in the United States.

Learn more about how you can become involved in the legislative process, through PICPA's Key Contact Program and CPA-PAC.

Contact the Government Relations Team at governmentrelations@picpa.org or (717) 232-1821.

Address:
500 N. 3rd St., Ste. 600A 
Harrisburg, PA 17101