Legislative Update - Week Ending Feb. 3, 2023

Legislative Update - Week Ending Feb. 3, 2023

Feb 03, 2023


Shapiro Executive Order to Improve Licensing, Permitting Processes

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order intended to improve Pennsylvania’s licensing, permitting, and certification processes. It represents, notes the administration, the beginning of a review of how long it takes agencies to process applications and how workers and businesses apply online.

The PICPA is engaged in this effort by the Shapiro administration and stands ready to assist both the administration and the State Board of Accountancy.

The executive order will help establish a date of certainty for each license, permit, or certificate by which applicants will hear back. If applicants do not receive a response by that date, the agency responsible will refund the application fee.

According to the press release announcing the order, Pennsylvanians often must wait months for responses and are forced to navigate inefficient digital systems to receive their professional license, permit, or certification. Shapiro has directed all state agencies, boards, and commissions to compile a catalog of the licenses, certificates, and permits they issue that includes the statutory authority governing the length of time to process applications and the application fee charged by each agency.

Commonwealth agencies have 90 days to send this information to the governor’s office, which will review, analyze, and establish efficient application processing times for all occupational permits or licenses based on agency recommendations. Once the recommendations are put in place, if an agency does not respond to an applicant within the established timeline, the agency will be required to refund the application fee.

The governor’s office will also conduct a review of the existing digital services that Pennsylvanians use to apply for licenses, certificates, and permits to modernize those application platforms and services to better serve Pennsylvanians.

In other news from the administration, Shapiro announced two more cabinet appointments: Lucas Miller will continue to serve as state inspector general and Reggie McNeil will be secretary of general services.


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New Revenue Department 411 Videos

In its effort to be responsive to taxpayers’ and tax practitioners’ difficulties with the transition to myPATH, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue produced four new 411 videos. The videos cover topics in the following areas:

For a more in depth look at myPATH, watch the webcast, “Pa. DOR Business Tax Updates to the myPATH System.”  


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Greiner Named Republican Chair of House Finance Committee

Rep. Keith J. Greiner (R-Lancaster), a PICPA member and CPA, will serve as the Republican chair of the House Finance Committee for the 2023-2024 legislative session. Greiner was appointed to the position by Republican Leader Rep. Bryan Cutler.

In his sixth term, Greiner brings an expertise in auditing, accounting, and tax law to the legislative process. Prior to serving in the state legislature, he had been Lancaster County controller and worked for a public accounting firm in Lancaster for over 20 years. In the legislature, Greiner served eight years on both the House Appropriation and Finance committees.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve as the Republican chair of the Finance Committee,” said Greiner. “My experience in both public accounting and the business world gives me a unique and valuable perspective on legislation and its impact on individuals and employers in Pennsylvania. My goal is to continue building on the positive changes the General Assembly enacted last session with Act 53 of 2022 by creating an environment that attracts businesses rather than turning them away.”

Greiner has championed several PICPA legislative initiatives, including recently enacted amendments to the CPA Law, now Act 110 of 2022. He also sponsored legislation championed by the PICPA amending the Charities Act to raise the thresholds for an audit, review, or compilation of financial reports (Act 71 of 2017).


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Culver Moves to Senate after Special Election Win

Republican state Rep. Linda Schlegel Culver will move across the Capitol after voters in the 27th Senatorial District elected her to represent them as their senator in a Jan. 31 special election. According to unofficial results, Culver won 69% of the vote to 31% for Democrat Patricia Lawton.

Culver’s victory brings the Senate to its full complement of 50 members: 28 Republicans to 22 Democrats.

A special election will be held in conjunction with the May 16 primary to fill Culver’s seat in the 108th District of the state House.

On Feb. 7, voters in three Allegheny County state House districts will go to the polls to fill three empty seats. The results of the special elections in the 32nd, 34th, and 35th Districts will determine control of the Pennsylvania House. 


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IFO Releases FY 2022-2023 Midyear Update

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) presented its midyear update on the economic and revenue outlook for Pennsylvania.

IFO’s short-term economic outlook calls for weaker growth, with an expected increase in the state’s gross domestic product of 0.5% in 2023 and 1.2% in 2024.

“For 2023, what we find is there is a general consensus for weakened growth for the U.S.,” noted Matthew Knittel, director of the IFO.

IFO also revised its revenue estimate for the current fiscal year (2022-2023) to $43.7 billion, up from $42.2 billion. Corporate, sales, and personal income taxes are driving the upward trend, according to IFO. 


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State Revenue Collections Down for January

Pennsylvania collected $3.6 billion in General Fund revenue in January, which was $205.6 million, or 5.5%, less than anticipated, reports the Department of Revenue. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $23.3 billion, which is $297.5 million, or 1.3%, above estimate.

According to the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) January Monthly Revenue Update, actual collections were $32.8 million above IFO projections. The report notes that revenues of $3.57 billion reflect a decrease of $23.7 million (-0.7%) compared with the same month in the prior year. Due to a processing delay on the last day of the month, roughly $94 million of revenue that would normally have been receipted in January will be shifted to February.

Sales tax and corporation tax receipts were both up for the month, $11.6 million and $13.8 million respectively, while personal income tax (PIT) revenue in January lagged $243.7 million below estimate. For the year, PIT collections are $9.2 billion, which is $216.6 million, or 2.3%, below estimate. Both sales and corporation taxes are up for the year, according to the department.

Other General Fund tax revenue – including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor, and gaming taxes – totaled $129.0 million for the month, $0.2 million above estimate. This brings the year-to-date total to $1.1 billion, which is $32.3 million, or 2.9%, below estimate.

Nontax revenue totaled $37.9 million for the month, which was $25.7 million above estimate. The year-to-date total is $384.6 million, which is $113.7 million, or 42.0%, above estimate.


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Pa. Well Represented on U.S. House Ways and Means Committee

Pennsylvania will be well represented on a key tax-writing committee in the U.S. Congress. The House Ways and Means Committee, which will be chaired by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) for the 118th Congress, will include four members from Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Republican members of the committee are Mike Kelly (16th), Lloyd Smucker (11th), and Brian Fitzpatrick, CPA (1st). Kelly will chair the committee’s tax subcommittee

Rep. Dwight Evans (3rd) is the lone Pennsylvania Democrat on the committee.


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