Small businesses across Pennsylvania, particularly those in the hospitality industry, have suffered immensely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent mitigation efforts. The “Prioritize Pennsylvania: Small Businesses” initiative is an effort to help our once-vibrant small businesses through the end of this pandemic and make significant reforms to revitalize Pennsylvania’s economy.
|“As we celebrate moving toward herd immunity, reopening our economy, and returning to a sense of normalcy again, we must not forget our small businesses, particularly those in the hospitality industry, that have suffered immensely throughout this pandemic. The punitive mitigation efforts from this Administration have unfairly and disproportionately harmed our once-thriving small business community, and it is my hope that the bills in this package will provide both the immediate and long-term relief that they so desperately need.” – Senator Ryan P. Aument (R-36)|
|“We have heard from so many of our small business owners about the devastation caused by the pandemic and Governor Wolf’s heavy-handed response to it. Our bill provides the kind of immediate relief our smaller employers need to level the playing field and help them recover and rebuild.” – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46)|
|“Regulations are a self-made problem that are in part the result of choices made by the legislative branch of government. As a result, state agencies develop rules and regulations that place new burdens on small businesses. We must reverse this trend of growing regulations and the negative impact that it has on our economy.” – Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28)|
|“Many small businesses that have been profitable for years are now seeing losses that are entirely due to COVID-19. Small shops and mom-and-pop operations do not have massive amounts of savings; they are holding on by a thread. We cannot allow these families to lose everything they have worked so hard to build.” – Senator Judy Ward (R-30)|
The goals of the legislative proposals in the Prioritize PA: Small Businesses initiative are to cut red tape, offer financial relief, and advance tax reforms.
Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 32, a Comprehensive Regulatory Reform bill that would provide long-term regulatory relief. Throughout the pandemic, certain regulations were lifted in order to provide expedited critical operations in various sectors throughout the state. Continuing these successful measures beyond the COVID-19 era will provide the necessary boost our small business community needs to overcome the challenges they faced during the pandemic. This proposal would help the state grapple with its excessive regulatory burden and also provide greater legislative oversight for proposed economically significant regulations. Through increased transparency and accessibility in our state regulatory process, Senate Bill 32 will cut red tape for our small business owners so they can focus on what really matters – managing their business.
Read more about Senate Bill 32 here.
Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) is the prime sponsor of the Small Business Assistance Package, a group of five bills at providing both immediate and long-term relief to the Commonwealth’s struggling restaurants, bars, and small businesses. This legislative package will:
- Require the Pennsylvania Treasurer to, on a temporary basis, offer no-interest loans funded through a long-term bond to businesses who have been shut down by Governor Wolf’s orders.
- Create a temporary business improvement tax credit program, modeled off the highly successful Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, that would allow businesses who have done well during the pandemic to make a donation directly to struggling small businesses in return for a tax credit worth 50% of their donation. This program would be capped at $500 million, resulting in $1 billion provided to struggling restaurants, bars, and small businesses in the Commonwealth, and it would expire after two years.
- Allow normally profitable businesses that experience a pandemic-related loss in 2020 to offset earnings from prior years or future years against current year losses and get refunds for prior years (carryback) or cut future tax bills (carryforward). The program would sunset in three years to allow time for struggling businesses to get back on their feet.
- Waive the state fees for retail food and liquor licenses for restaurants and bars that were forced to shut down during Governor Wolf’s emergency orders.
- Allow businesses who were impacted by Governor Wolf’s shutdown order or his business restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic to deduct their property taxes from their state corporate net income (CNI) or personal income tax (PIT) liability.
Read more about the Small Business Assistance Package here.
Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Senator Judy Ward (R-30) are co-prime sponsors of Senate Bill 368, legislation that would provide Net Operating Loss (NOL) parity between corporations and small businesses, allowing these locally owned businesses to take NOL against future years for up to 20 years. Their proposal would allow small businesses to temporarily “carry back” losses to previous tax years. Finally, their bill would allow small businesses to take a net loss against other sources of income.
Read more about Senate Bill 368 here.
Other Senate Republican Proposals
Many other bills aimed at assisting Pennsylvania small businesses have been introduced by Senate Republicans as well, including:
Small Business Reform Package
Sponsored by Senators Scott Hutchinson, John DiSanto, and Judy Ward
Senate Bill 347 (DiSanto) allows for tax-deferral when property is exchanged for similar property under Pennsylvania’s tax law.
Senate Bill 348 (J. Ward) allows a small business to use the Net Operating Loss deduction.
Senate Bill 349 (Hutchinson) increases the maximum amount a taxpayer may elect to expense for Section 179 assets to $100,000 per taxable year. Also increases the phase-out of this deduction from the current $200,000 to the current federal amount of $2,000,000.
Read more about this package of bills here.
Annual Filing of Sales Tax Returns for Small Businesses
Sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill
Senate Bill 299 amends Pennsylvania’s tax law to streamline filing purposes for small businesses with less than $20,000 in annual sales that will also save the Department of Revenue in administrative personnel costs.
Read more about Senate Bill 299 here.
Creation of Veteran-Owned Business Logo
Sponsored by Senator Camera Bartolotta
This proposal directs the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create logos to be used to promote veteran-owned businesses in the Commonwealth.
Read more about this proposal here.
Prohibiting Discriminatory Project Labor Agreements
Sponsored by Senator Scott Martin
Senate Bill 57 will serve to encourage open competition among potential contractors and bars the use of project labor agreements for taxpayer-funded construction projects. Additionally, the legislation makes it unlawful for a public body to consider the union/nonunion status of an employer’s workforce in its selection criterion for awarding a public project.
Read more about Senate Bill 57 here.
As part of the Prioritize PA: Small Businesses initiative, we are seeking to elevate the voices of small business owners from across the Commonwealth to bring awareness to the grave impacts the pandemic has had on our communities’ locally owned businesses. We invited entrepreneurs from across the state to participate in a video project where they shared how the pandemic has impacted their business and how an effort to “prioritize PA small businesses” would be beneficial to them.
All Occasions Rental
Lititz Springs Inn & Bulls Head Public House
PA Renaissance Faire
Hoss’s Steak & Sea House
Several statewide industry groups have voiced their support for the Prioritize Pennsylvania: Small Businesses package.
Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA)
“In an effort to rebuild our state’s economy and boost our once vibrant small businesses, the “Prioritize Pennsylvania: Small Businesses” package is a coordinated approach that will not only help us get through the end of this pandemic, but will also make significant reforms to improve and revitalize the state’s economic climate to strengthen our small businesses.”
Read the full letter of support from PRLA here.
Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association (PMA)
“We look forward to working with the General Assembly to address these major challenges and applaud the bold proposals put forward by these Senators that will prioritize Pennsylvania’s small businesses.”
Read the full letter of support from PMA here.
Op-ed: As Pennsylvania Begins its Slow Recovery from COVID-19, Small Businesses Must Be a Top Priority
As restaurants, bars, gyms, entertainment venues and other small employers look forward to higher capacity limits and fewer restrictions starting April 4, there is a sense of optimism that the worst of this year-long COVID-19 nightmare may finally be behind us. [Read More]
A group of Senate Republican lawmakers announced a package of bills today designed to support small businesses that have been affected by Governor Wolf’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Read More]
A group of Senate Republican lawmakers discussed their efforts to reduce the financial and regulatory burdens on small businesses during a news conference in Lititz on March 15 at 10 a.m. [Read More]
Today, Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) announced his intent to introduce a package of bills aimed at providing both immediate and long-term relief to the Commonwealth’s struggling restaurants, bars, and small businesses. [Read More]
Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Judy Ward (R-30) introduced legislation today to update state tax laws in order to provide critical assistance to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. [Read More]
To effectively restore our once vibrant small businesses and make significant reforms to revitalize Pennsylvania’s economy, I will need the continued engagement of my constituents and local leaders, as an ongoing dialogue between lawmakers and those they represent is absolutely critical to succeed.
As such, please fill out my Voice Your Concerns Form with any further questions, thoughts, or concerns you may have. I firmly believe that an open and productive conversation is necessary as we seek to Prioritize PA: Small Businesses, together.