Legislative Update

Get the latest news on Pennsylvania government and the issues affecting the CPA profession through Legislative Update.

  • Week Ending March 16, 2018

    by PICPA Government Relations | Mar 16, 2018


    House Passes PICPA-Supported Business Depreciation Proposal 

    By a vote of 183-4, the Pennsylvania House overwhelmingly approved a PICPA-supported proposal to restore depreciation deductions for Pennsylvania businesses. This legislation is in response to Pennsylvania Corporate Tax Bulletin 2017-02 that disallows all depreciation on certain property, making Pennsylvania the only state to fully disallow depreciation on certain assets. For more information on bonus depreciation, please read PICPA’s issue brief.

    Sponsored by PICPA member and state Rep. Francis Ryan, CPA (R-Lebanon), House Bill 2017 decouples the state’s corporate net income tax law from the bonus depreciation provided in last year’s federal tax reform law, and instead allows accelerated depreciation similar to the approach taken by most other states.

    Specifically, HB 2017 disallows the federal bonus depreciation deduction from taxable income provided in Section 168(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and provides an additional deduction equal to the depreciation as determined in accordance with IRC Section 167 (Depreciation) and IRC Section 168 (Accelerated Cost Recovery System).

    Before giving its final approval to HB 2017, the House defeated an attempt by Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre) to add an amendment changing the corporate filing method in Pennsylvania from the current separate company reporting system to a unitary, or combined reporting, basis.

    The PICPA thanks Rep. Ryan for his work shepherding the bill through the House, as well as Reps. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland), Keith Greiner, CPA (R-Lancaster), and Mike Peifer (R-Pike), who all spoke in support of the measure.

    The Senate returns to session next week, and the PICPA is urging senators to take up HB 2017 now before it gets mired in the budget process. With corporate net income tax returns due May 15, 2018, and quarterly estimated payments in June, Pennsylvania businesses cannot wait.

     

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    Wolf Introduces Citizens First Ethics Reform Plan

    Gov. Tom Wolf introduced his Citizens First ethics reform plan, which includes a gift ban for public officials, “no budget, no pay” legislation, public official expense reform, and steps to curb the influence of special interests in Harrisburg.

    “This proposal enforces strict standards for how Harrisburg operates, and it will rebuild trust in government. My plan will make sure that our citizens are the ones calling the shots — not entrenched special interests,” Wolf said.

    The Citizens First ethics reform plan includes a gift ban for public officials, a bill that would stop the pay of legislators, their top staff, the governor, and top officials in the executive branch until a complete budget is passed, and provisions requiring the disclosure of campaign contributions made by parties seeking contracts.

    Wolf is also proposing campaign finance laws that would place limits on contributions to candidates seeking elected office, implement aggregate limits for races, place some restrictions on political action committees (PACs), strengthen reporting and disclosure requirements across the board, and curtail the role of campaign spending in the political process.

    Three years ago, the Center for Public Integrity gave Pennsylvania an F grade and ranked the commonwealth 45th among all states for integrity.

     

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    Resolution Calls for Study of State Collection of Local EIT

    House Resolution 291, introduced by state Rep. Mike Peifer, CPA-Inactive (R-Pike), to study potential cost savings and efficiencies resulting from the consolidation of local earned income tax collection, was adopted unanimously in the state House this week.

    Peifer’s resolution directs the Department of Revenue, in consultation with the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Independent Fiscal Office, to investigate the feasibility and potential cost savings associated with the replacement of local earned income tax collection methods by local taxing committees with a statewide collection method domiciled in the Department of Revenue.

    A report is due Dec. 31, 2018.

     

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    Consumer Protection Bills Approved by House

    A pair of bipartisan bills to help Pennsylvania consumers affected by data breaches was approved by the state House on March 13.

    House Bill 1846, sponsored by Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler), would require notice to Pennsylvania residents of whenever there is a breach of data security. The notice must be written in plain language, and include the date of the breach, the type of information subject to the breach, and toll-free numbers to credit reporting agencies. This notice must be made within 45 days of learning of a breach.

    House Bill 1847, sponsored by Rep. Mike Driscoll (D-Philadelphia), would waive current credit freeze fees, which are up to $10 per account. In the instance of a data breach, consumers would be provided with three years of free credit monitoring. None of these penalties would apply to a credit reporting agency that has not experienced a breach.

    The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.

     

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    Student Loan Debt Tracking Bill Advances

    Legislation to help college students keep student loan debt under control was voted out of the House Commerce Committee this week.

    House Bill 2124, sponsored by Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware), would require higher education institutions to provide information regarding education loan debt to their students. The information provided to the student may include a statement that any estimate or range provided is general in nature and not intended to be a guarantee or promise of an actual projected amount.

    Similar legislation in other states has helped students and their families make informed financial choices.

    The bill is now on its way to the full House for consideration.

     

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    Bill to Reduce Size of Legislature Passes House

    By a vote of 109-80, the state House approved legislation to reduce the size of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly.

    House Bill 153, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill), would allow voters to decide whether the state House should be downsized from 203 to 151 members and the Senate from 50 members to 38.

    A similar, though not identical, bill passed both chambers last session. Since the proposal amends the Pennsylvania Constitution, it must be considered in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before going to the voters. However, if the Senate amends the bill back to the form of the bill passed last year, and the House agrees to it, the referendum could conceivably be on the ballot this fall.

     

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    AICPA’s Outstanding CPA in Government Awards

    Do you know an outstanding CPA in government? Please consider nominating a worthy colleague for the AICPA’s Outstanding CPA in Government Awards. The nomination period runs from April 1 through April 30.

    The Outstanding CPA in Government Impact Award recognizes the significant contributions of the CPA to the efficiency, effectiveness, or innovative service delivery of their respective local, state, or federal employer organization.

    The Outstanding CPA in Government Career Contribution Award recognizes contributions to the CPA profession via government service at the local, state, or federal level over a candidate’s entire career.

    The awards are scheduled to be presented at the AICPA’s National Governmental Accounting and Auditing Conference in Washington on Aug. 13, 2018.

     

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Contact Government Relations

governmentrelations@picpa.org
Peter Calcara | 717-232-1821
Alexandra Fabian | 717-232-1821
Annette Knapp | 717-232-1821

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