PAFIA Lobbyist Update for March 2021
On February 3, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf delivered his 2021-2022 state budget address virtually. The $37.8 billion proposal contains a sizeable increase in the state’s personal income tax (PIT) and a substantial increase in education spending. This year’s general fund budget is $33.1 billion. The Governor’s proposal is an increase of $3.78 billion, or 11.1% over the prior year. The Governor is proposing to raise the PIT from 3.07% to 4.49% starting July 1, the first increase since 2003. The increase would raise more than $3 billion annually, a 20 percent increase when compared to 2019 tax data. $1.3 billion raised from a higher income tax would go to basic education funding, boosting that total to about $8.1 billion. Special education would be increased by $200 million to a total of $1.4 billion. The new revenue will also be used to address the multi-billion dollar deficit in the state budget. The Governor’s proposal would result in a tax hike for 60 percent of Pennsylvania taxpayers. Residents with incomes at or below $15,000 for single filers; $30,000 for married filers; and $10,000 allowance for each dependent – will receive total 100% personal income tax forgiveness.
In addition, the Governor is proposing to reduce the 9.99% corporate net income tax to 9.49 percent on January 1, 2022, then continue to reduce the tax incrementally to 6.49 percent by 2026. The governor is also proposing to shift to combined reporting to tax corporations as a single entity. Like several previous budgets, the governor is again calling for a severance tax on natural gas drillers. Currently, Pennsylvania imposes an impact fee that is assessed on each drill site. According to the state’s Independent Fiscal Office, the 2020 impact fees equaled an effective tax rate of 3.3%.
The Commonwealth continues to deal with the COVID-19 challenges with vaccine rollout and case count statewide holding steady. On February 9th, Governor Wolf announced the creation of a joint task force aimed at improving the state’s vaccine rollout, including Republican and Democratic members of the General Assembly. Senators Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia) and Representatives Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) and Bridget Kosierowski (D-Lackawanna). The task force will share vaccine information and communicate solutions on behalf of and to the broader General Assembly. Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout has been the focus of multiple hearings last week in the state legislature. Through February 22, vaccine providers have administered 2,034,123 doses of vaccine. 1,474,479 million Pennsylvians have received their first does and 559,644 people have received both doses and are now fully vaccinated.
Budget hearings in Harrisburg have started. The state House Appropriations Committee held the first of several hearings to discuss Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal. Of note: (1) The Department of Revenue was questioned about the Governor’s proposal to increase the state personal income tax. (2) The Department of Environmental Protection was questioned about the Governor’s proposal to join the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. (3) The Department of Community and Economic Development answered questions regarding the business shuts downs last year due to the Covid pandemic and the mitigation measures still in place today. The full schedule of House hearings can be found here. The state Senate Appropriations Committee will begin its budget hearings on Monday, March 8th. The full schedule of Senate hearings can be found here.
Film Caucus Update
There are currently 24 members of the Film Caucus. Additional outreach to encourage more members of the House and Senate to sign up is currently taking place. Senators Camera Bartolotta and Jay Costa and Representatives Kathleen Tomlinson and Joe Ceresi are leading the caucus this session.
A listing of the current membership is below:
Representatives: Daley, Tina Davis, Howard, Longietti, Malagari, Matzie, Merski, Mizgorski, Mullins, Pisciottano, Sanchez, Silvis, Sturla and Webster.
Senators: Collett, Fontana, Kane, Santarsiero, Stefano, and Lindsey Williams.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 email@example.com