Government Affairs & General Updates
August 3, 2023
1 .Senate returning to Capitol today to sign budget as negotiations on code bills continue. Senate President Pro Tem Kim Ward announced Wednesday evening that the Ssnate will hold a session day Thursday so the budget can be signed after weeks of delay that prevented the state from paying its bills. "I am calling the Senate back to session at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 2023, to finalize the General Appropriations Budget (HB 611). Signing HB 611 will provide the necessary funding to schools, counties, and organizations completing 75% of the budget," Ward said in a statement. "The remaining 25% of the budget requires legislation to authorize expenditures. Gov. Shapiro has provided us the necessary assurances to guarantee the monies for those programs will remain untouched until the legislature has finalized the language. Senate Republicans will continue to negotiate with our counterparts in good faith and in the best interests of Pennsylvanians. We hope our counterparts will do the same."
2. Pa. collects nearly $3 billion in first month of new fiscal year Nearly $3 billion in General Fund revenue was collected by Pennsylvania in July, the first month of the 2023-24 fiscal year. Secretary of Revenue Pat Browne announced the total at $2.9 billion. July’s sales tax receipts totaled $1.3 billion. The month’s personal income tax (PIT) was $1.1 billion. Corporation tax revenue figures for July were $188.2 million. The month’s General Fund revenue total included $127.9 million in inheritance tax and $1.1 million in realty transfer tax. July’s other General Fund revenue that included cigarette, gaming, liquor, and malt beverage taxes totaled $92.4 million. The month’s non-tax revenue was $98.7 million. The Motor License Fund, which includes diesel and gas taxes along with license, fine, and fee revenues, received $272 million for the month. As the official estimate for the 2023-24 fiscal year has not yet been certified, the collection data for July does not contain a comparison against anticipated amounts. Read More
3. Why Pa. should lead on liquefied natural gas exports Pennsylvania is the country’s second-largest producer of natural gas, an industry that, according to the American Petroleum Institute, has created and sustained hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributed billions to the state’s economy. Blessed with abundant shale gas reserves and proximity to European markets, Pennsylvania should also lead on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. This year, a bipartisan effort is underway to examine how Pennsylvania can export liquefied natural gas. Established by Act 133 of 2022, the Philadelphia LNG Export Task Force is exploring opportunities for moving liquefied natural gas through the Port of Philadelphia. The advantages of hosting a liquefied natural gas export terminal are numerous, including job creation, economic growth, and the opportunity to help our allies overseas by supplying affordable, reliable, and clean natural gas. Read More
4. Two senators seek property tax relief for more disabled vets Two Republican senators have introduced legislation to target more disabled veterans for property tax relief. Sens. Tracy Pennycuick, R-Bucks, and Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe, are sponsors of Senate Bill 844 to allow disabled veterans to obtain a reduced assessment on their property based in relation to their disability rating. Under current state law, veterans who are 100 percent permanently disabled can obtain 100 percent property tax relief. Veterans who are not 100 percent permanently disabled receive no reduction, even though they can experience significant challenges, said the senators. SB844 would allow for a reduction based on a sliding scale tied to a disability rating. For example, for a disability between 10 percent and 30 percent, the reduction would be $7,500. For a disability of at least 70 percent, the reduction would be $15,000. A veteran must have been honorably discharged and have a service-connected disability as declared by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible for this program. SB844 is in the Senate Finance Committee
5. AG Henry urges stronger federal action on plastic pollution State Attorney General Michelle Henry is joining a multi-state coalition of attorneys general seeking a stronger federal strategy to fight plastic pollution. Henry and 13 of her colleagues sent a letter to the federal Environmental Protection Agency urging action to set standards to manage plastic waste and to reduce society's reliance on plastic materials. Microplastics have been found in all of Pennsylvania's waterways where testing is done, said Henry. "My office's ongoing actions in environmental causes are consistent with our fight to ensure Pennsylvanian's basic rights to drink clean water and breathe clean air," said Henry.