Written By: Beth Brennan, Lobbyist, Cozen O'Connor
Happy Spring to our friends in film. Better weather is on the horizon, great for shooting outdoor scenes.
Also, additional Covid-relief efforts are underway in Harrisburg. Twice this month, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the loosening of various pandemic related restrictions. On March 15, the Governor announced the easing of some of his COVID-19 mitigation policies on businesses, effective April 4. For restaurants, the indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75 percent. Capacity for other businesses, including gyms and entertainment facilities, such as theaters and casinos, will be increased to 75 percent occupancy. Back on March 1, the Governor and the state Health Department rescinded a November order that required anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering Pennsylvania.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee began its hearings for the 2021-22 budget, meanwhile, the House concluded their hearings in mid-March. Republican House and Senate members continued to express concern about the Governor’s proposals to raise the personal income tax, increase the minimum wage, and impose a severance tax on natural gas, among other contentious issues.
With the announcement of two additional legislative vacancies this month, May 18th – PA’s primary election day – will now be the date of four state legislative special elections. One March 5th, state Sen. John Blake, D-Lackawanna, resigned from his 22nd Senatorial District seat to accept a new job with Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright. On March 16th, state Rep. Jeff Pyle R-Armstrong, resigned immediately due to health issues. Special elections already set for May 18th were the 48th Senatorial District seat which was vacant due to the January death of Sen. Dave Arnold, R-Lebanon and the 59th House District which was vacant due to the January death of Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland.
On March 10, Senator Camera Bartolotta, R-Greene, introduced SB 321. Co-sponsored by Senators Collett, Scavello, Robinson, Costa, Yudichak and Stefano, the bill increases the film tax credit limit from $70 million to $125 million. It also renames the Film Production Tax Credit as the Film Industry Incentive. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
On March 12, Representatives Kathleen Tomlinson, R-Bucks, and Joe Ceresi, D-Montgomery, circulated a co-sponsorship memo announcing their intent to introduce that would re-brand the Film Production Tax Credit as the Film Industry Incentive and increase funding for the program from its current level of $70 million to $125 million. We anticipate their bill language to be identical to Senator Bartolotta’s SB 321 referenced above.
As we move closer to the June 30th budget deadline, we expect busier days ahead in Harrisburg. PAFIA will be watching and advocating for the industry. Now get outside and enjoy the sun and warmer weather.
And quiet on the set……….Action!
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org