Happy September, I hope that this update finds you with memories of a healthy and enjoyable summer. A summer that was certainly unlike no other, attempting to make lemonade from the daily bag of lemons that COVID was delivering to us all. As of the beginning of September, more than 133,000 Pennsylvanians have been infected with COVID-19, with unfortunately more than 7,000 passing away. Businesses, school districts, state & local governments, and everyone in between are trying to deal with this new reality, along with anticipating what might come when flu season arrives in November and December. The country has people that have directly experienced COVID and are petrified of getting sick, and others feel this is just another illness that mostly affects those who are in poor health.
On August 31, Governor Tom Wolf renewed the state’s disaster declaration for the Covid-19 pandemic for another 90 days on Monday. “As we approach the six-month mark of this crisis, I continue to be amazed at the resiliency and strength shown by Pennsylvanians during this pandemic,” Wolf said in a statement. “We are going to continue to combat the health and economic effects of COVID-19, and the renewal of my disaster declaration will provide us with resources and support needed for this effort.” The declaration also comes at a time when the Pennsylvania House returns to voting session with a renewed effort to try to stop the Governor’s emergency powers by overriding Wolf’s veto of a previous bill that would allow the Legislature to force the governor end the disaster declaration. PennLive has more.
In a press release recently issued by Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell, Pennsylvania collected $2.5 billion in General Fund revenue in August, which was 8.9% more than expected. The Department of Revenue estimated the majority of revenue collected in August can be attributed to extending the due date to August 14 for corporations that had annual corporate net income tax payments due in April, May, June or July. Penn Live has more.
Expectations are the state budget deficit will be approximately $5 billion and many state lawmakers are hoping that federal funds will be made available to plug some or all of that gap. Depending on what financial relief comes from Washington, that will determine how much in additional revenue will need to be generated or identified. Some options for new revenue being proposed includes adult use marijuana, and the Governor has recently called on legislators to legalize as a way to boost the economic recovery.
In other news, and in response to Covid-19, PennDOT is extending expiration dates for certain products including commercial driver licenses, learner’s permits and Hazardous Materials Endorsements. The extension for non-commercial driver licenses, photo identification cards, and camera cards ended Monday. Triblive.com has more. Governor Wolf today also recently announced his support for mandating a paid sick leave program for all PA workers, saying it can help workers avoid coming in sick and spreading diseases as well as reduce costs associated with employee turnover and absence. Democratic lawmakers acknowledged the difficulty they will face passing the legislation in the Republican-majority legislature. For more please see the Governor’s press release.
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