In this Update:
My Bill Helping PA Families Passes Senate
Hardworking Pennsylvanians may soon have the same tax benefits afforded to investors, thanks to the Senate passage of my bill.
Senate Bill 654 would bring Pennsylvania law in line with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax laws relating to the depletion of wells and mines. It would allow long-time landowners to claim the same depletion rate on their royalties as those businesses that purchased mineral rights. Investors who buy mineral rights have the appraised value of gas as the basis for the well depletion allowance provided in Pennsylvania while most landowners do not, as appraisals are cost prohibitive. Because of this, the IRS and some states, including neighboring West Virginia and Ohio, allow a simple percentage depletion allowance that is accessible to everyone paying tax on 85% of royalties.
I would like to thank my 88-year-old constituent who brought this important issue to my attention. Thanks to the retired public school teacher and farmer living in Washington County, this bill was written and received Senate support. Thanks to him, families will hopefully soon enjoy the same financial benefits investors already claim. He is a great example of what can be accomplished when people share their state-related concerns.
Currently, Pennsylvania law does not provide this kind of depletion deduction. While a regulation adopted in 2006 appears to provide for a cost depletion method for mines, oil and gas wells, other natural deposits, and timber, the documents required by the regulation make it unworkable for most taxpayers who otherwise would be able to take the deduction. Having received strong bipartisan support, Senate Bill 654 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
House Bill Intends to Expand Clean Slate
Pictured left to right: Rep. Sheryl Delozier, Senator Lisa Baker (Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee)
This week the PA Senate Judiciary Committee reported House Bill 689 as amended. This legislation authored by Representative Sheryl Delozier (R-88) and Representative Jordan Harris (D-186) would expand expungement eligibility for non-violent offenders with stipulations. In the past, I’ve led efforts in the Senate to help more Pennsylvanians benefit from the state’s Clean Slate law. Language from my bill was added to HB 689 as an amendment.
House Bill 689 focuses on helping those non-violent offenders who have paid their debt to society and have lived post-incarceration life for a decade on the straight and arrow. This bill will help those individuals have better success applying for jobs, pursuing higher education, buy a home, or any of those things they couldn’t do before.
September is National Recovery Month
An event was held this week at the State Capitol Building for Courage to Change Recovery Advocacy Day, which aims to raise awareness of substance use conditions, celebrates individuals in recovery, and acknowledges the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.
Kudos to this group led by the Washington Drug and Alcohol Commission, which traveled to Harrisburg to share their stories and help convey a message of hope that people can and do recover.
Senate Votes to Streamline and Increase School Safety Measures
This week, the Senate passed House Bill 27 to more effectively keep Pennsylvania children safe at school by streamlining and increasing school safety measures.
House Bill 27 would consolidate school safety programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and create a new Executive Committee under PCCD to review school safety issues and to identify current and emerging trends.
The bill would also ensure schools and counties can develop best practices for emergency response by developing a safe schools collaborative, release $100 million that was included in the 2023-24 state budget for K-12 mental health programs and provide greater flexibility for school districts experiencing shortages of substitute teachers. Read More
PA Voters Get Greater Say with Senate Bill
The Senate passed a bill that would give Pennsylvania voters a significant say in presidential elections by moving up the primary election date.
In many presidential elections, the outcome is largely decided before Pennsylvania voters have a chance to cast a ballot. Moving up the spring election date gives voters in the fifth-largest state a better chance of weighing in on the presidential primary.
Currently, the primary takes place on the fourth Tuesday of April. Senate Bill 224 would move the primary to the third Tuesday in March, making the next presidential primary election date March 19, 2024. The change would also prevent a conflict with Passover, during which observant Jewish Pennsylvanians are prohibited from writing, driving or using electricity.
Tax Seminars Held Virtually and Across PA
Tax professionals can learn about changes to state tax laws and policies during one-day seminars offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue held across the state and virtually.
The tax seminars will educate tax professionals on Personal Income Tax, sales tax corporate taxes, compliance initiatives and using the department’s website to establish tax accounts for new businesses, file tax returns and pay state taxes.
Find a local or virtual seminar here.
Grants Available to Increase Economic Benefits Boaters Offer PA Communities
Communities can apply now for grants to enhance the economic and social benefits of providing convenient boating access along their waterways. Townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments, and nonprofit groups may apply. Private businesses and service clubs are not eligible.
Applicants can seek grants for site acquisition, development, expansion, prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species and rehabilitation of recreational boat access facilities. Eligible construction projects may include boat ramps, courtesy floats, restrooms, access roads, parking areas and signs. Funds may also be used to make facilities ADA compliant.
While the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will accept applications from anywhere in the commonwealth, special consideration will be given to projects that provide public boating access in the Delaware River watershed. Learn more or apply online by Dec. 30.
Yom Kippur Begins Sunday
Yom Kippur – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar – begins at nightfall on Sunday, Sept. 24. The Day of Atonement, which ends the following day at nightfall, is spent fasting, praying and seeking forgiveness.
I wish everyone who observes this important holiday a meaningful Yom Kippur. May you be sealed in the Book of Life.