Legislative Update

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  • Week Ending April 5, 2019

    by PICPA Government Relations | Apr 05, 2019


    PICPA Financial Literacy Resources and Freshman Legislator Event 

    The PICPA offers a broad range of financial literacy resources to teach elementary and high school students about money management basics in a fun, friendly way.

    Our latest resource is a brochure meant to teach kids how to “Grow Their Money Muscle.” A fully customizable version of this resource is available on the PICPA website. We welcome PICPA members and legislators to include their own contact information on each copy and co-brand the resource with the PICPA. The PICPA offers a host of consumer-friendly advice on budgeting, credit cards, fraud, retirement, and much more.

    In addition, as part of our financial literacy efforts the PICPA is partnering with legislators to host workshops around the state. Legislators should reach out to Alex Fabian, government relations manager, if they are interested in hosting a workshop in their district.

    Lastly, the PICPA is hosting a meet-and-greet breakfast for freshman legislators on April 30, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in room 60E of the Capitol. New legislators interested in partnering with the PICPA on financial literacy opportunities are encouraged to attend. Please RSVP to Annette Knapp.

     

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    A Look at the Week of April 8 in Harrisburg

    House and Senate lawmakers return to session on April 8. Here’s a look at some of the legislation that could be voted on as well as some committee meetings for the week.

    House lawmakers could consider House Bill 706 (sponsored by PICPA member Rep. Keith Greiner, CPA) which allows a combined state income tax return for an estate and revocable trust. Another bill (House Bill 247) on the House calendar would allow for cross-unit drilling, given that drill operators secure valid leases for the land on which they drill.

    The House Finance Committee holds a voting meeting on April 8. It will consider House Bill 779 (providing exclusions from sales and use tax), House Bill 880 (providing for appropriation for and limitation on redevelopment assistance capital projects), and House Bill 970 (aligning the state with IRS Publication 1075 with regard to criminal background checks).

    The House State Government Committee will hold an informational meeting on issues surrounding voting system replacement in the Commonwealth, and the House Consumer Affairs Committee will convene a public hearing on House Bill 11, legislation updating the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act.

    The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled action on House Bill 962 (removes both the civil and criminal statutes of limitation on child sex abuse cases and extends the cap in which victims can seek civil recourse against institutions and individuals to 55 years) and House Bill 963 (state constitutional amendment to provide a two-year window for alleged victims to file civil lawsuits against individuals and institutions concerning childhood sexual abuse).

    The Senate Majority Policy Committee will examine the impact of changing demographics on higher education during a public hearing on April 10. The committee will hear testimony from Nathan Grawe, a Carleton College economics professor, who will discuss the demand for higher education and the demographic changes impacting its availability and affordability.

    For a list of House and Senate hearings click here.

     

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    Iovino Wins Special Election for Allegheny County Senate Seat

    In a closely watched special election to fill the 37th state Senate seat in Allegheny County, Democrat Pam Iovino narrowly defeated Republican D. Raja by margin of 33,373 to 30,825. The seat was previously held by Republican Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, who was elected to the U.S. Congress in November.

    Iovino is a retired Navy captain who had been appointed to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs post by former President George W. Bush. Her win narrows the Republican majority in the state Senate to 26-22 with two open seats.

    Candidates have been selected for the May 21 special election for the 33rd state Senate District. Democrat Sarah Hammond, director of community development for the Borough of Spring Grove, will square off against Republican Doug Mastriano, a retired U.S. Army colonel. The seat was held by Sen. Rich Alloway (R-Franklin), who resigned earlier this year. 

     

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    Department of Revenue Welcomes New Faces

    The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue recently announced the filling of two key positions. Bryan Barbin is the new deputy secretary for taxation, and Joshua Hulstine is the new director of the Bureau of Corporation Taxes.

    Barbin brings a great deal of experience to the department, particularly in the area of tax administration. Earlier in his career, he spent six years working as a deputy attorney general in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Barbin also served 10 years as a member of the Pennsylvania House representing parts of Cambria and Somerset counties.

    Hulstine will be responsible for administering all corporate taxes, including corporate net income, capital stock/foreign franchise, corporate loans, insurance gross premiums, utility gross receipts, public utility realty, financial institutions, and agricultural and electric co-op. Hulstine was most recently director of the Tax Registration Office. He has previously worked in the Bureau of Business Trust Fund Taxes, the Bureau of Individual Taxes, and the Office of Chief Counsel. He replaces Tom Bordner, who retired.

     

     

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    March 2019 State Revenue Collections

    Pennsylvania collected $4.6 billion in General Fund revenue in March, which was $76.1 million, or 1.7 percent, more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $24.7 billion, which is $363.6 million, or 1.5 percent, above estimate.

    According to the Independent Fiscal Office’s March Monthly Trends Report, actual collections for March 2019 General Fund revenues of $4.55 billion reflect an increase of $228.9 million (5.3 percent) compared with the same month in the prior year. Since the start of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, overall tax revenue is $1.2 billion, or 5.2 percent, more than was collected in the same period of the last fiscal year.

    Sales tax receipts totaled $820.8 million for March, $19.1 million above estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $8.2 billion, which is $230.7 million, or 2.9 percent, more than anticipated.

    Personal income tax (PIT) revenue in March was $1.1 billion, $3.1 million below estimate. This brings year-to-date PIT collections to $9.4 billion, which is $371.1 million, or 3.8 percent, below estimate.

    March corporation tax revenue of $2.3 billion was $113.7 million above estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $4.2 billion, which is $453.6 million, or 12.1 percent, above estimate.

    In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $196.2 million for the month, $41.1 million below estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund – which include gas and diesel taxes as well as other license, fine, and fee revenues – total $2.0 billion, which is $119.4 million, or 5.7 percent, below estimate.

     

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    Newly Introduced Legislation Picking Up Pace

    The volume of bills being introduced in both the state House and Senate is starting to pick up pace. The PICPA government relations team and the PICPA Committee on State Taxation are reviewing hundreds of pieces of new legislation and amendments. Here’s a brief look at several of the bills under review that may be of interest to PICPA members.

    Rep. David Zimmerman (R-Lancaster) introduced legislation to assist businesses with an over-burdensome Department of Revenue examination processes. House Bill 774 will require the department to examine in person, at the physical location of the business, the requested papers and records of a taxpayer when a department request would total 25 pages or more of records. The bill is pending in the House Finance Committee.

    Rep. Mark Longietti (D-Mercer) plans to introduce legislation to raise the threshold for prepayment estimates for sales tax filings in order to reduce the burden on small businesses. Longietti’s bill, which would amend Act 85 of 2012, would raise the threshold for third quarter filings from $25,000 to $100,000. This bill has not been assigned to a committee.

    Reps. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny), Barbara Gleim (R-Cumberland), Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin), Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington), and PICPA member Frank Ryan, CPA (R-Lebanon), plan to introduce a series of bills on municipal government reform. The bills will address local government debt, municipal authorities, first-class city swaps, performance bonds, and derivatives.

    Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York) has a plan to eliminate all school residential property taxes and other local taxes. Gillespie’s Residential Property Tax Elimination Act (RPTEA) would shift the majority of funds now collected as property taxes to sales and income taxes.

    For more on the tax legislation followed by the PICPA, see our blog on CPA Now.

     

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    U.S. House Committee Advances IRS Modernization Bill

    The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee advanced a measure aimed at modernizing the IRS and boosting retirement savings, with lawmakers and outside groups hopeful that legislation on these topics gets enacted this year.

    The Taxpayer First Act of 2019 includes more than 45 provisions across a range of IRS programs. Some of the notable changes the bill seeks to put in place include creating an independent appeals process, strengthening the IRS’s ability to proactively combat identity theft tax refund fraud, and improving the taxpayer experience across the IRS’s suite of taxpayer services.

     

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    AICPA Outstanding CPA in Government Nominations

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

    The Outstanding CPA in Government Impact Award recognizes the impact of significant contributions of the CPA to the efficiency, effectiveness, or innovative service delivery of their respective local, state, or federal employer organization. Current or recent accomplishments are the focus of this award.

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

    Again, the nomination period is April 1-30. The awards are scheduled to be presented at the AICPA’s National Governmental Accounting and Auditing Conference (GAAC) in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 12, 2019.

     

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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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