Governor Signs Revenue Bills Into Law
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
On Oct. 30, Gov. Wolf signed into law several bills comprising a revenue package to balance the FY 2017-2018 state budget, including amendments to the Tax Reform Code, Fiscal Code and gaming laws. Together, the bills authorize $1.5 billion to be derived from the state's Tobacco Settlement Fund, impose a new tax on consumer fireworks, require online vendors to remit the state sales tax, require the Budget Secretary to develop a list of $300 million in transfers from dedicated funds to the General Fund, and generate an expected $238 million in expanded gaming, among other provisions.
General Assembly Sends Revenue Proposal to Governor
Thursday, October 26, 2017
The General Assembly has sent a Tax Reform Code bill (HB 542) and a Fiscal Code bill (HB 674) to the Governor's desk, comprising a revenue package to balance the FY 2017-2018 state budget. Together, the bills authorize $1.5 billion to be derived from the state's Tobacco Settlement Fund, either by borrowing against the funding stream or selling a portion of the settlement fund over 10 years; impose a new tax on consumer fireworks; and require online vendors to remit the state sales tax, among other provisions. In addition, the Budget Secretary would be required to develop a list of $300 million in transfers from dedicated funds to the General Fund.
House Approves New Revenue Proposal
Thursday, October 19, 2017
On Wednesday, the House approved amendments to HB 542, reflecting that chamber's latest proposal to close the $2.2 billion budget gap, by a 102-88 vote. These amendments authorize $1.5 billion to be derived from the state's Tobacco Settlement Fund, either by borrowing against the funding stream or selling a portion of the settlement fund over 10 years; imposes a new tax on consumer fireworks; and requires online vendors to remit the state sales tax, among other provisions. Other budget-related bills are reported to include other elements to balance the FY 2017-2018 budget, including the potential transfer of revenue from dedicated funds, though amendments have yet been offered.
S&P Downgrades State Credit Rating
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Credit rating agency Standard & Poors (S&P) announced today that they are downgrading Pennsylvania’s credit rating for the second time in three years, to A-plus, citing the commonwealth’s chronic structural imbalance, a history of late budget adoption and their opinion that this pattern could continue. S&P further noted that while the state’s deficit is manageable, the reliance on one-time cash infu-sions has put too much stress on its tax collections to pay its bills on time.
Senate Votes to Non-Concur on House Revenue Proposal
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Less than a week after the House approved a proposal to close the $2.2 billion budget gap by relying heavily on one-time transfers from special funds that proponents claimed to have surpluses, the Senate voted 43-7 to non-concur in the House amendments to HB 453. While this is a step toward getting the bill to conference committee for the House and Senate to work out their differences, the House has not yet indicated its plans or whether it will vote to send HB 453 to conference committee when it returns to session on Sept. 25.
House Passes "Putting People First" Revenue Proposal
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Last evening, the House, by a 103-91 vote, approved an amended version of the revenue plan a group of rank and file members had proposed last week. As amended by the House Rules Committee, HB 453 still seeks to balance the state budget in part by relying on significant transfers from dedicated funding. Although the amendment did not include transfers from the 911 Fund or Farmland Preservation Fund, a number of other funds important to counties are still exposed to capture. CCAP has completed an updated analysis, which is linked below.
County Analysis of House "Taxpayers Budget" Revenue Proposal
Friday, September 08, 2017
Earlier this week, a group of rank and file House members has announced a no-taxes funding plan that relies on about $1.2 billion in one-time transfers from special funds they claim have surpluses and another $1.2 billion in other transfers and funding. Transfers from special funds impacting counties include $40 million from the 911 Fund, $27 million from state farmland preservation funding, $75 million from the Recycling Fund and more. CCAP has completed an analysis of the proposed transfers with the greatest impact to counties, which is linked below.
House Members Introduce Budget Plan
Wednesday, September 06, 2017
On Sept. 5, a group of 18 rank and file House members introduced a plan to fund the FY 2017- 2018 state budget. This plan proposes $1.25 billion in one-time transfers from 41 different accounts including the 911 Fund, the State Farmland Preservation Fund, and the Recycling Fund, as well as another $1.2 billion in other transfers and funding. Additional details can be found below.
Senate Approves Budget-Related Bills
Thursday, July 27, 2017
On July 27, the Senate narrowly approved a $1.8 billion revenue package (HB 542) that included $1.3 billion in borrowing and $571 million in new revenues from sources such as new or expanded gross receipts taxes on natural gas, electricity and telecommunications, a tax on consumer fireworks and imposition of the sales tax on internet-based sales. A "volume differential tax" on natural gas would also be imposed that would leave the current Act 13 impact fee in place, while guaranteeting at least $200 million in impact fee revenues annually. Finally, the plan depends on the transfer of $200 million in funds and $200 million from a gaming bill that has yet to be approved.
The Senate further approved amendments to the Human Services Code (HB 59), Administrative Code (HB 118) and Fiscal Code (HB 453), which included removing the sunset on the state's recycling fee and reauthorizing senior judge support grants for counties.
These bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Budget Becomes Law Without Governor's Signature
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
On Monday, July 10, Gov. Wolf allowed HB 218, representing the FY 2017-2018 state budget bill, to become law without his signature while discussions with the General Assembly on revenues continue. The Governor's statement is linked below.