The House and Senate returned to session last week, and several bills of interest to the business community saw movement. Bills advancing included key proposals to provide reforms to the state’s transportation, infrastructure, energy, liquor and tax policies.
With the state’s June 30 budget deadline just three weeks away, several key tax reform bills supported by the PA Chamber advanced, including S.B. 721, which provides for an annual 1 point decrease in corporate net income tax through 2025. The bill was reported from the Senate Finance Committee on June 6. On June 7, the House Finance Committee reported to the floor S.B. 347, which allows for a tax deferral for like-kind exchanges at the state level, and H.B. 1709, an optional entity-level SALT cap workaround. The workaround would allow Pennsylvania pass through entities to elect to recognize income from the operation of the business at the entity-level. Partnership or s-corp owners and shareholders would receive a credit, equal to the amount of income taxes paid by the business entity, against their state income tax liabilities. Over thirty states have enacted similar legislation.
Also on June 7, the Senate Local Government Committee sent H.B. 1974 to the floor. This legislation ensures continued access to energy choice on the part of homeowners and businesses by prohibiting local governments from enacting contrary policy. The PA Chamber in its support for the legislation (and its companion bill, S.B. 275) has noted that competitive markets have produced more emission and cost reductions than policies centered on bans and mandates.
On June 8, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee advanced legislation, H.B. 2075 (which previously passed the House with bipartisan support) to provide clarity with respect to the state’s incorporation of California emission rules for heavy trucking. The same day, the House Transportation Committee, after incorporating an amendment to provide further clarity on safety and insurance requirements, approved along party lines H.B. 2398, which establishes a framework for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles in the state. In memos in support of both, the PA Chamber noted the bills will support the state’s strengths in logistics and position the state for continued attractiveness for emerging industries. The House Liquor Control also reported to the floor H.B. 2272, a proposed constitutional amendment supported by the PA Chamber to fully privatize the state’s liquor sales. The amendment would have to pass the General Assembly in both the current and 2023-24 legislative sessions and subsequently be approved by voters via ballot referendum to take effect.