State Capitol Roundup
House Continues Work to Boost Job Creation in PA
Continuing the effort to boost job and career opportunities for Pennsylvanians, the state House this week approved legislation to make the Commonwealth’s tax structure more fair and competitive with other states, said Rep. Mike Peifer (R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne).
House Bill 2150 would close the so-called Delaware Loophole to level the playing field for business and industry. It also would restructure the state’s Corporate Net Income Tax, currently one of the highest in the nation, to better attract and retain employers.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at improving the state’s jobs climate. Among those new laws are ones that reform the state’s Unemployment Compensation system and expand the successful Keystone Opportunity Zones program to encourage development of abandoned sites.
Recent Revenue Collections Exceed Projections
The state Department of Revenue announced this week that general fund revenue collections for the month of April exceeded projections by $99 million, or 3 percent.
Although this marks the third consecutive month revenue collections have been in the black, the Commonwealth is still about $300 million behind for the fiscal year.
Gov. Tom Corbett presented his $27.1 billion budget proposal at the beginning of February, and following weeks of House and Senate budget hearings in February and March, lawmakers are now working to finalize a budget agreement.
The budget must be completed by June 30.
Reapportionment Commission Holds Public Hearing to Receive Input on Preliminary Maps
The Legislative Reapportionment Commission held a public hearing in Harrisburg this week to gather public comment on the preliminary redistricting maps recently approved by the commission. A second hearing is planned next week.
Under the proposal, Peifer’s 139th Legislative District would no longer include any portion of Monroe County but instead be limited to portions of Pike and Wayne counties. The district would include the following municipalities in Pike County: the townships of Blooming Grove, Dingman, Greene, Lackawaxen, Milford, Palmyra, Shohola and Westfall, and the boroughs of Matamoras and Milford. It would include the following municipalities in Wayne County: the townships of Berlin, Cherry Ridge, Damascus, Dreher, Lehigh, Oregon, Palmyra, Paupack, Salem and Sterling, and the borough of Hawley.
Following the public comment period, the commission has 30 days to respond to citizen requests and make appropriate modifications. Once the maps are given final approval by the commission, the public then has 30 days to file legal challenges.
Every 10 years, the state constitution requires new legislative district boundaries to be drawn to reflect population changes recorded in census data.
Putting the Spotlight on the Tourism Industry
Tourism is the state’s second-largest industry and one of the largest revenue generators for the Commonwealth. It also plays a vital role in the Pocono region economy.
Lawmakers and industry leaders put the spotlight on tourism this week with a rally at the state Capitol. While the lagging economy has led to cuts in the state’s tourism budget, legislation has been introduced to boost tourism dollars through the creation of a public-private partnership that would put Pennsylvania’s tourism branding and marketing in the hands of professionals with the expertise and ability to generate more revenue from the industry.
The bill would move the state’s tourism office from the Department of Community and Economic Development and create an independent state agency called the Pennsylvania Tourism Commission.
Tourism supports more than 452,000 jobs and generates $36 billion in economic impact from the 172 million annual visitors to the Commonwealth. For more information about Pocono region tourism, visit www.800poconos.com.