In this Update:
Mastriano Votes in Favor of 2022-23 State Budget
HARRISBURG – Today, Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) voted in favor of a fiscally responsible 2022-2023 General Fund Budget to provide relief for Pennsylvanians, encourage economic development, and invest in the safety and prosperity of the Commonwealth’s next generation.
The fiscally sound budget transfers $2.1 Billion to the Commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the balance in the fund to nearly $5 billion. According to independent projections, the FY 2022-23 budget will have an ending balance of $3.6 billion. The budget agreement does not include any tax increases and is structured in a way to ensure there are no tax increases in the years ahead.
Mastriano highlighted the following areas of the budget in expressing support:
Tax Relief and Economic Growth
Education and School Choice
Nursing Homes and Caring for Elderly
Supporting Law and Order
Support for Farmers and Open Land Preservation
Support for Our Veterans
Mastriano was successful in amending two of his bill proposals into the final budget: SB 1297 (Property Tax and Rent Rebate Recovery Payments), and SB 1193 (Law Enforcement Recovery Funding).
He also circulated a letter of support for an increase to the EITC program and publicly called for an increase in funding for physical security to protect children in schools. Both priorities were included in the final budget.
“Senator Mastriano played an important role in advancing key priorities for Pennsylvanians in this year’s budget,” said Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-39). “We were pleased to work with and have Senator Mastriano’s support on cornerstone issues such as election integrity, expansion of school choice, enhancements for school security, fully funding our police, and support for our seniors.”
“We held the line on the governor’s prior budget proposals that would have inflated the budget and hiked taxes, said Mastriano. “That’s why we’re in position today to put forward a budget that improves education, cuts taxes, fully funds our law enforcement, and takes care of our veterans and our elderly. This budget makes crucial investments in our commonwealth without jeopardizing our financial future and transfers $2.1 Billion to the Rainy-Day Fund, bringing the total balance to $5 billion. I`m also pleased that several of the proposals I spearheaded were passed as part of the final budget.”
The New State Budget: Clearing Hurdles to Jobs and Opportunity
The new 2022-23 state budget does not include any broad-based tax increases and is structured in a way to minimize the risk of tax increases in the years ahead.
In fact, the budget actually cuts the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate, which is now the highest in the nation. The new budget cuts the rate from 9.99% to 8.99% and creates a phased reduction to 4.99%, or sixth lowest, by 2031.
Not only will a lower rate attract new business, it also makes the state more attractive for businesses that already operate here and need to expand.
The budget also eliminates a disadvantage faced by Pennsylvania small businesses when competing with those in other states. Under federal tax law, a “like-kind” exchange under the Internal Revenue Code allows for tax deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. This long-standing federal provision allows employers to invest in the job-creating assets businesses need to remain competitive. Every state but Pennsylvania provides for a similar deferral on the state level.
The new spending plan also brings state tax law governing expense deductions in line with federal law, eliminating the unequal treatment of small businesses in Pennsylvania. The increase in limits makes it easier for employers to buy equipment and to invest, which promotes job growth.
Additional funding is also included for several tax credit programs that foster economic development in Pennsylvania communities, including Research and Development ($5 million increase), Film Tax Production ($30 million increase), Entertainment Economic Enhancement ($16 million increase) and Waterfront Development ($3.5 million increase).
These changes will make Pennsylvania more competitive with surrounding states and send a strong message to employers that our Commonwealth is open for business.
Deana’s Law Increases Penalties for Repeat DUIs
The Senate recently passed legislation that is now law to increase penalties for multiple DUI offenders.
Act 59 of 2022, Deana’s Law, would require consecutive sentencing, instead of concurrent, for fourth DUIs and above. It would also increase penalties for drivers with multiple DUI convictions involving high blood alcohol content levels.
The law is named after Deana Eckman, 45, who was killed in a 2019 crash involving a six-time DUI offender.
Funding Available for Projects that Promote PA Farm Products
Nonprofits can apply now for grants for projects that promote Pennsylvania farm products and grow export markets.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will award up to $303,000 in matching funds to nonprofits to reimburse up to 50% of costs for promotional and educational projects intended to increase consumer awareness and sales.
Eligible projects in 2022 can promote anything from wine to wool, hardwoods to honey, fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, poultry or dairy — any agricultural product produced in PA.
Complete guidelines for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program are in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Grant applications must be submitted online through the Department of Community and Economic Development Electronic Single Application. Applications are due by Aug. 5.
Accessing Local and County Crime and Crash Data
When crimes and crashes are investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, the statistical data is available online through the Community Access to Information Dashboard (CAID).
CAID allows the public and the media to access and search data collected from traffic enforcement and crashes for both commercial and noncommercial vehicles, including Incident maps. There’s also data concerning various crimes, with mapping for counties and municipalities.
The dashboard allows the user to choose what data is displayed. Searches can be refined with custom date ranges, locations and categories. Queries can be made in the dashboard with statistical information from as far back as 2019. The dashboard contains no information that could be used to identify the individuals involved.
How to Conserve Energy and Manage Summer Power Bills
As hot weather settles in, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) offers tips on conserving energy and keeping summer power bills manageable.
You can find more tips here. For consumers struggling with paying utility bills, the PUC continues to encourage them to call their utilities to discuss the many different affordability options available.
Celebrating Parks and Recreational Opportunities
Parks and recreational opportunities are key components of healthy communities. I hope you get to enjoy the great outdoors this summer.
The new state budget includes $56 million in state funds to create a new State Parks and Forests Infrastructure Program and $100 million in federal funding for state parks and outdoor recreation.
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