Last week, the Senate advanced two bills providing for reductions in the state’s Corporate Net Income tax, which remains the PA Chamber’s top priority. S.B. 771, sponsored by Senator Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, passed the chamber by a vote of 31-19 and would provide for an annual 1 point reduction in the CNI every year for the next three years, plus additional reductions in further years pending revenue collections. The Senate also passed S.B. 447 by a vote of 31-19, legislation sponsored by Senator Michele Brooks, R-Crawford, that would reduce the CNI a half-point every year over six years without revenue performance triggers. The bills await consideration by the House, and serve as markers of support as final negotiations on the tax code and the overall budget take place among the caucuses and the Governor.
Meanwhile, as part of its legislative work, the House advanced proposals that would address two significant issues facing employment: workforce development and combating unemployment compensation fraud. On June 13, the House Education Committee unanimously approved H.B. 2646, which streamlines certification of career and technical educators moving to PA from other states. On June 15, the House State Government Committee reported to the floor H.B. 2648 by a unanimous vote – legislation that establishes a special prosecutor for unemployment compensation fraud under the state’s Office of Inspector General.
As the legislature and Governor work on finalizing negotiations for the upcoming fiscal year, the PA Chamber and NFIB teamed up to urge the General Assembly to address expected shortfalls in the state’s unemployment compensation system. The letter notes that absent additional funding, “the need to borrow from the federal government remains, which will trigger automatic employer tax increases in the years ahead, costing employers hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the billions in UC taxes already paid annually.” As a remedy, the PA Chamber and NFIB recommend using American Rescue Plan funds to stabilize the trust fund.
The House and Senate are scheduled to be in session Monday through Friday the next two weeks as they work on negotiating an agreed to budget with the Governor ahead of the June 30 deadline.