September 2021 Recap
Summer is officially over as the PA House and Senate returned to Harrisburg for legislative session after the Labor Day holiday. The House was in session for 7 days while the Senate had 6 voting sessions.
The month of September started on a positive note as the PA Department of Revenue released August 2021 collections announcing that revenues were ahead of estimates. Fiscal year to date General Fund collections total $5.3 billion, which is $132.4 million or 2.6 percent, above estimate. More on the department’s collection can be found here.
In COVID-19 related news, PA Auditor General Timothy DeFoor released a performance audit examining how the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) handled a process to grant waivers to businesses seeking to stay open during an emergency shutdown ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. At that time, Gov. Wolf ordered businesses not categorized as “life-sustaining” to close their locations to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as part of an emergency declaration. The audit recommends additional consultation to determine the definition of “life-sustaining,” among other issues. The recommendations are based on findings that DCED posted five different versions of the waiver application and changed guidance on what is “life sustaining” nine times while a document with frequently asked questions was revised 14 times, according to DeFoor.
More than 42,000 businesses sought a waiver from the governor’s closure order during spring 2020. DCED granted more than 7,000 waivers. A link to the audit can be found here.
For industry specific news, we continue our advocacy in support of the film industry and increased funding for the entertainment production tax credit. We will be gathering the Film Caucus chairs together soon to discuss strategy for the remainder of the current fiscal year which ends June 30, 2022. We will also discuss strategy as we look ahead to the Governor’s FY 2022-23 budget proposal and the budget negotiations that follow.
Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Commerce & Economic Development had announced a public hearing on Wednesday, October 6 at 2pm. This hearing has since been postponed to a later date. The committee was to hear testimony on Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson’s Resolution 210643. The resolution calls for hearings to discuss the economic impact of the film industry in Philadelphia. A link to the resolution can be found here. We will keep you posted when a new date for the hearing is announced.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org