In This Update:
PA Legislature Passes Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit
This week, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed landmark legislation that establishes the Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit program.
I offered an amendment to House Bill 732, after negotiations with the Wolf Administration and several business and labor organizations, that establishes the Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit to attract private investment in the construction and operation of Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities that use dry natural gas to produce fertilizer and other petrochemical products.
Specifically, my amendment provides a tax credit against 20 percent of a qualified company’s annual tax liabilities. Qualifying for the Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit requires a company to invest $400 million in the construction of a new manufacturing facility, create 800 new and permanent jobs, pay prevailing wages and benefits, and use carbon capture and sequestration technology when economically feasible.
The Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit has no immediate fiscal impact to the state budget, and no tax credit is payable until at least 2025 when companies would become eligible to apply.
The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association’s economic analysis of House Bill 732 estimates that more than 4,400 jobs and over $1.6 billion in economic benefits would be generated from the construction of four manufacturing facilities under the provisions of the legislation.
The Senate passed House Bill 732 by a vote of 40-9. The House concurred with the changes made in House Bill 732 by a vote of 163-38. The bill is now before Governor Wolf for consideration.
Applications Available Now for Beginning Farmer Tax Credits
Experienced farmers will now have an incentive to sell or lease land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers thanks to a new tax credit program that was created last year. Applications for the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program can be filed now at esa.dced.state.pa.us.
Under the program, landowners will receive a one-time personal income tax credit for the sale or a multi-year lease of property. The legislation requires all leases be enforced through written agreements and that the sale of property be for fair market value in order to qualify for the tax credit.
Complete program guidelines, eligibility, and application instructions are available here.
Senate Votes for New Tool to Crack Down on Blight
Municipalities would have a new tool to crack down on dangerous abandoned and dilapidated properties under a bill approved by the Senate this week. The bill would allow municipalities to file condemnation orders on the properties with the county recorder of deeds.
The order would be considered a lien on the property and its validity would not be impacted by upset, judiciary, or repository sale of the property. Under current law, anytime a condemned property’s ownership changes hands, local officials must expend significant time repeating their code enforcement process. This bill closes that loophole and allows municipalities to take the appropriate steps to remove these dangerous eyesores from our communities.
Senate Passes Bipartisan Probation Reform Proposal
A bipartisan bill to improve Pennsylvania’s probation system received the unanimous approval of the Senate this week. The bill would give the courts stronger guidelines and restrictions on sentencing to ensure periods of incarceration are limited to individuals who commit new crimes or serious violations. The bill also creates incentives for probationers to succeed through credits for good behavior, such as maintaining a job and performing community services.
In current practice, technical violations that are not actual crimes – such as being late for an appointment, traveling out of state or being unable to pay fines and restitution – can lead to extensions of probation or prison time that far exceed the original sentence handed down at trial. The cost to incarcerate these individuals is much greater than the cost of supervision, resulting in wasted taxpayer dollars without any benefit in terms of public safety.
Bill Would Provide Greater Flexibility in Obtaining Teacher Certifications
The COVID-19 pandemic created a severe disruption in the certification process for teachers, as testing centers were closed statewide. The Senate approved a bill this week that would help teachers, recent graduates, undergraduate students and paraprofessionals to navigate the state required certification process.
The legislation will enable graduates to obtain temporary certifications and extend certain deadlines to provide additional flexibility so schools are not faced with additional challenges in recruiting staff when reopening schools.
New Laws Support Police Reform, Child Safety, Blight Remediation
Several noteworthy bills that were approved by the Senate recently were signed into law this week, including:
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