A Message from PAFIA's Lobbyist

Thursday, July 01, 2021 4:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Late Friday, June 25, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a $40.8 billion budget. Governor Wolf has stated that he will sign the budget bill, and accompanying budget code bills, before the end of the current fiscal year (which ends on June 30).

Unfortunately, the budget did not provide for an increase to the $70 million Film Production Tax Credit program. Senator Camera Bartolotta publicly expressed her disappointment with the budget outcome in a Post-Gazette article found here.

However, there was language added to the film tax credit program that gives special consideration to “multifilm” production, which is a series of separate and distinct films produced by the same taxpayer over a period of no less than one year and no more than four years from the time application. If an individual film include in a multifilm application is cancelled, the tax credit may be reissued to another applicant only after the Department of Community and Economic Development allows the taxpayer 90 days to apply for an alternative individual film. Senator Wayne Fontana said in a recent press release that the new changes are helpful, but a larger tax credit would mean more jobs and economic spin off.

Some of you may be discouraged that the limit for the film tax credit program was not increased but please remember that there has been tremendous growth in support for the film tax credit within the legislature this year – even during a pandemic. Film caucus leaders advocated both publicly and privately in support of our cause and their efforts, along with yours, have not gone unnoticed. We encourage PAFIA members to continue to engage with legislators regarding the importance of increasing funding for the film tax credit. Whether is it meeting with legislators one on one in their district offices, inviting them onto sets, or posting on social media how the film industry is thriving in PA, please do not stop having conversations with elected officials. We can use this opportunity to grow our collective voices even more.

With the passage of the state budget, the PA Legislature has started their summer recess. This is an opportunity for members to spend some time in their districts and to work on issues in preparation for returning to session in the fall. Unless sooner recalled by their respective chambers, the PA Senate will return to session on Monday, September 20 and the PA House will return to session on Monday, September 27. 

More information on the budget

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania was allocated $7 billion in funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) which had gone unspent until this budget. Of those dollars, $4 billion will go towards balancing this year’s budget and more than $2 billion has been set aside for the Commonwealth’s rainy day fund. All in, factoring in offline spending through federal CARES Act funds and American Rescue Plan funds, the FY 2021-22 budget grew just 2.6% over the current 2020-21 budget.

Highlights of the General Fund Budget

SB 255 – Appropriations Bill

An additional $416 million in education funding - the largest single-year education funding increase in state history:

  • $200 million increase to the fair funding formula, for a total of nearly $900 million
  • $100 million for Level Up, a new initiative providing more equitable funding to the 100 most underfunded districts and the students they serve
  • $20 million for Ready to Learn
  • $50 million increase for special education
  • $30 million increase for early education, including $25 million to expand Pre-K Counts and $5 million to expand Head Start
  • $11 million for preschool Early Intervention
  • $40 million increase for the Education Improvement Tax Credit
  • Nearly $5 million for community colleges
  • Provides for the investment of ARP funding for a variety of Covid-19 relief assistance and recovery programs:
  • $350 million for schools to address learning loss and provide summer enrichment and after school programs to help students with academic, social, emotional and mental health needs
  • $50 million for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to support the redesign and growth of the system 
  • $450 million for rental assistance
  • $350 million for homeowner mortgage assistance
  • $36 million to help pay water bills
  • $282 million to help nursing homes and long-term care facilities to recover from the pandemic and improve patient safety
The budget also provides for $30 million in new state dollars for violence intervention and prevention by local communities and local organizations. 
  • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 140-61
  • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 43-7
  • Link to fiscal note can be found here
  • Link to line item budget tracking can be found here

Highlights from each code bill

HB 1348 – Fiscal Code

  • Establishes the Angel Investment Venture Capital Program
  • Establishes a two-year pilot program for e-scooters in the City of Pittsburgh
  • Established the Opioid Settlement Fund for any monies received from litigation or settlements
  • Deposits 100% of any General Fund Surplus for FY 202/2021 into the Rainy Day Fund
  • Provides for Level Up in Basic Education
  • Provides payments for fairs that had to cancel in 202 0 due to COVID-19
  • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 42-8
  • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 168-33
  • Link to fiscal note can be found here

HB 952 – Tax reform Code

  • Provides for a sales and use tax exemption for the sale at retail or use of computer data center equipment for installation in a computer data center. Eligible criteria was defined.
  • Specific change to the Bank Shares Tax relating to mergers, pertaining to apportionment of income from another state.
  • Increases the accountability of tax credit and tax benefit programs, including a tax credit broker registration requirement. These reforms are based on recommendations from a 2019 grand jury investigation.
  • A change to the definitions in the film tax credit; creating a new definition for “multifilm”.
  • Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit Change (Act 66); changes the law from four taxpayers to two and eliminating the per project cap of $6.25 million per taxpayer.
  • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 46-4
  • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 170-31
  • Link to fiscal note can be found here.

HB 336 – Administrative Code

  • Establishes an audit of the judicial computer system with a report due to the General Assembly by January 31, 2022
  • Establishes a process for constitutional amendment questions to be circulated 14 days prior to publication
  • Requires registered lobbyists to report any equity holding in an entity in which they are lobbying on behalf of beginning July 30, 2022
  • Requires the Attorney General to defend certain claims against the Commonwealth
  • Creates a new Department of Environmental Protection permit for the temporary storage and transfer of beneficial reuse of oil and gas waster (water recycling)
  • Permits the Auditor General to audit a municipal authority and to make recommendations for improvement
  • Repeals the Department of Labor and Industry’s overtime regulation
  • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 28-22
  • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 112-89
  • Link to fiscal note can be found here

SB 381 – School Code

  • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 154-47
  • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 40-10
  •  Link to fiscal note can be found here

Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software