Legislative Update

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  • Week Ending May 31, 2019

    by PICPA Government Relations | May 31, 2019

     


    PICPA-Supported Bill Sets 10-Year Limit on State Tax Collections

    Legislation championed by the PICPA to establish a statute of limitations on the collection of assessed state taxes was unanimously approved by the House Finance Committee on May 15. Under current law, there is no time period for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (DOR) to collect assessed personal income taxes.

    House Bill 17, authored by PICPA member Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), would establish a 10-year statute of limitations on the assessment of tax on nonfiled tax returns and collection of all taxes administered by the DOR, with the exception of the inheritance tax because it may take years to finalize such returns. The 10-year limitation would be similar to the practice on the federal level.

    The measure now moves to the full House for consideration. 

     

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    A Look at the Week of June 3 in Harrisburg

    The state capital is in the stretch run to the June 30 budget deadline. The session calendar calls for both chambers of the General Assembly to be in session the entire month.

    Peter Calcara, PICPA vice president, government relations, has a CPA Now blog post on the budget. You can read it here.

    The House Finance Committee has scheduled a meeting this week to consider two bills: House Bill 1502 and Senate Bill 613. House Bill 1502, sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), would require state agencies to place their original budget documents online on Nov. 1 every year. The bill passed the state House last session by a vote of 178-12. Sen. Bob Mensch’s (R-Berks/Bucks/Montgomery) Senate Bill 613 requires all agencies with employees or contractors who have access to federal tax information to comply with enhanced security procedures, including a criminal history background check conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police.

    Other committee meetings and public hearings this week include a joint public hearing of the House Health and Judiciary committees on marijuana use and Second Amendment rights, a House Labor and Industry Committee meeting to discuss construction workplace misclassification, and a House Education Committee public hearing on compulsory school age.

    The Senate’s State Government Committee will hold a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of Kathy Boockvar to be Secretary of the Commonwealth.

    A complete list of House and Senate meetings can be found on the legislature’s website.  

     

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    PICPA Day on the Hill Conference Fast Approaching

    Members still have time to register for PICPA’s annual Day on the Hill conference on June 11 in Harrisburg. The day-long session provides members with up-to-the-minute information on state budget negotiations, positions them to be strong advocates for the accounting profession in Pennsylvania, and provides updates on legislative activity that impacts their clients. With more than 50 new legislators this year, having the profession’s voice heard in the halls of the state capitol is more critical than ever.

    Our 2019 Day on the Hill is headlined by PICPA member Sen. Pat Browne, CPA, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rep. Matthew Bradford, Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Joe Torsella, state Treasurer, who will discuss his proposed retirement security initiative. After visits in the morning where members will meet with state lawmakers to discuss PICPA’s legislative agenda, the afternoon session has Brenda Warburton, deputy director of the Independent Fiscal Office, providing an economic update. Also, a panel from the Department of Revenue will provide an overview of PaTH, a new online system available for taxpayers who file and pay taxes through the department’s Bureau of Motor and Alternative Fuels Taxes, and answer questions from the audience.

    Conference participants will earn three CPE credits. Register to attend today.

     

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    Report Paints Optimistic Picture of State Finances

    State lawmakers received good financial news from the state Independent Fiscal Office (IFO). According to IFO’s Initial Revenue Estimate FY 2019-20 report, the state will see a surplus this fiscal year due in large part to strong corporate earnings and a spike in internet-based tax receipts. IFO’s June 2018 General Fund revenue estimate for the 2018-2019 fiscal year was $33.9 billion. Based on actual revenue collections through April 2019 and projections for the remainder of the fiscal year, the revised estimate for the current fiscal year is up by $866 million.

    IFO notes that these increases largely occurred across four revenue sources: corporate net income tax collections are projected to grow at a rate of 17.9 percent for the 2018-2019 fiscal year; nonmotor vehicle sales and use tax collections are expected to exceed the original estimates by $245 million; nonwithheld personal income tax collections are $121 million higher than expected; and license and fee revenue will exceed the official estimate by $88 million due to greater collections related to gaming expansion.

    IFO will release its final revenue estimates on June 20, just before the June 30 fiscal year ends.

     

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    Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Occupational Licensure Reform

    State Reps. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) and Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) were joined by state Sens. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin/Perry) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks) to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation at removing employment barriers for formally convicted people.

    House Bill 1477 and Senate Bill 637 would require occupational licensure boards and commissions to apply one common set of rules when considering whether to deny, suspend, or revoke a license based on a criminal conviction. Boards and commissions would be directed to only withhold or revoke a license based on convictions that are directly related to the practice of the occupation.

    The bills would also direct boards and commissions to consider the nature of the offense, the amount of time that has passed since the conviction, evidence of the applicant’s fitness to practice the occupation, and other relevant factors before withholding or revoking a license.

    The bills are currently pending in committee.

     

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    PHFA Accepting Bids for Purchase of Mixed-Use Development Tax Credits

    The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) announced that it is accepting bids for the purchase of $2 million in mixed-use development tax credits. The funds collected from successful bidders will be used for the construction or rehabilitation of mixed-use developments in Pennsylvania communities. The deadline for bids is 2:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

    These tax credits will be used by the winning bidders – which can be companies, organizations, or individuals – to reduce their state tax liability. The intent of the bidding process is to raise as much funding as possible from the $2 million in tax credits being made available to provide for a significant investment in community revitalization projects in various communities. The projects to receive this funding will be selected during a competitive request for proposals process later this year.

    It is expected that the tax credit awards will be made within 90 days after bidding closes. The credit awards will be made in 2019, but they are not effective for use until 2020 against a 2019 tax liability.

    More information about the mixed-use development tax credit and the current bidding process is available on the PHFA website. Program guidelines and bid criteria are posted there. Interested organizations can learn more by contacting Bryce Maretzki at PHFA at (717) 780-1867 or bmaretzki@phfa.org.

     

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    IFO Natural Gas Production Report

    The Independent Fiscal Office published its first quarter 2019 Natural Gas Production Report. Using data compiled by the Department of Environmental Protection, the report displays the volume of gas produced and the number of producing and nonproducing wells. In addition, the report shows the top 10 counties by volume of production.

    For the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018:

    • The volume of natural gas produced increased by 14.7 percent.
    • The number of producing wells increased by 9.9 percent.
    • The number of nonproducing wells declined by 1.9 percent.
    • The number of new horizontal wells spud increased by 1.5 percent.

    Quarterly and calendar year production gains were driven by wells spud in 2017 and 2018. These wells comprised 37.2 percent of production for the quarter. Wells spud in 2016 or earlier recorded production declines for the quarter.

    Also, the 10 highest producing counties accounted for 92.7 percent of horizontal well production and 85.5 percent of producing wells for the calendar year. All counties in the top 10, except for Wyoming, registered first quarter production gains.

     

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    Speaker Announces Special Election for 85th Legislative District

    House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) ordered a special election for Tuesday, Aug. 20, to fill the vacant seat in the 85th Legislative District, located in parts of Union and Snyder counties. The special election will fill the seat vacated by Rep. Fred Keller, who recently won election to the U.S. Congress.

    Keller resigned after defeating Democrat Marc Friedenberg in the May 21 special election to fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, who resigned earlier this year for health reasons. Keller’s departure leaves the state House temporarily with 108 Republicans and 93 Democrats until Republican Marci Mustello gets sworn into office. Mustello won a special election last week to serve out the remainder of former Rep. Brian Ellis’s term.

    Candidates for the August special election will be selected by a process designated by their respective political parties, and the winner of the special election will take office after the results are certified.

     

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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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Rep. Mary Jo Daley: Attend Day on the Hill and Get Your Legislator's Attention
2018 Q&A with the DOR

The PICPA met with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue on Oct. 24, 2018. View the full transcript, watch the recording, or view past discussions from 2010-2017.

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