HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, will be introducing legislation in the near future that will enact combined reporting to close the "Delaware loophole” and reduce the Corporate Net Income tax rate from 9.99 percent to 7.99 percent. The legislation is geared toward enhancing job growth in Pennsylvania, and protecting small and medium-sized businesses, while ensuring taxpayers are not footing the bill for larger corporations. Pennsylvania’s current CNI tax rate is 9.99 percent, the second highest in the nation behind Iowa, which has a tax rate of 12 percent. The Delaware loophole is a longstanding, legal practice that large corporations in Pennsylvania use to exploit a state law that allows them to establish holding companies in Delaware. Doing so enables companies to transfer all profits earned in the commonwealth to their out-of-state subsidiary because, unlike Pennsylvania, Delaware does not have a CNI tax. “If Pennsylvania is going to be an innovator in business development, we need to consider reducing the corporate tax burden,” Conklin said. “But, this should not be done at the expense of hard-working families across the commonwealth.” In his ongoing effort to close the loophole, Conklin also recently introduced legislation, House Bill 1719 , which would require corporations and their related subsidiaries to file taxes as a single company for state CNI tax purposes. Nearly 76 percent of the Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today announced the award of a $461,651 state grant to help a company buy and install a solar energy system at the Boscov’s Millcreek Mall store located in Millcreek Township. “I’m happy to announce that a substantial grant from the commonwealth will assist in the installation of a solar energy system at the Millcreek Mall,” Bizzarro said. “While it is exciting to see the commonwealth continue to support our ongoing development initiatives within our district, it’s also nice to see entities making the most out of alternative, environmentally sound energy sources such as solar energy.” Sun Spring 2, LLC, a special purpose entity formed by Johnson Melloh Solutions Inc., will use the allotted funding to install a 782.46 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic system at the Boscov’s Millcreek Mall store. The system will generate 966,666 kWh of electricity per year, approximately 50 percent of the store’s annual usage. All electricity generated by the system will be purchased by Boscov’s Department Store, LLC, through a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA). Johnson Melloh Solutions Inc. will absorb the remaining project cost of $931,128 . The grant was approved through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. Read more
NORRISTOWN, March 16 – State Rep. Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, announced today that United States Roofing Corp. will receive a $425,000 grant for the purchase and installation of a 369.6 kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system on its facility in Norristown Borough. The Solar Energy Program funding request was approved Friday by the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The funding will go towards the purchase and installation of a rooftop solar PV system on its three existing adjacent buildings, the warehouse, office headquarters and one unit rented to another entity. Together, the roofs should fit about 1,056 solar panels, providing 70 percent of its existing energy consumption. The total project cost is $850,000, with United States Roofing Corporation providing $425,000 in matching funds. “Congratulations to United States Roofing Corporation for successfully earning this state grant to expand alternative-energy use and reduce costs using solar technology,” Bradford said. “Sustainable infrastructure investments are so important to the long-term success of our communities and I’m thrilled that this investment is being made in Norristown Borough.” The Solar Energy Program provides financial assistance in the form of grant and loan funds to promote the use of solar energy in Pennsylvania. The program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 16 – State Rep. Emilio Vazquez, D-Phila., today announced a $119,925 state grant toward the purchase and installation of solar energy panels at the DiSorb Systems Inc. factory at 1800 W. Indiana Ave. in north Philadelphia. DiSorb, which makes medical waste treatment products, is a certified service-disabled veteran-owned small business. "It was my great pleasure to recommend DiSorb Systems for a Pennsylvania solar grant application to install a solar panel system on its factory. DiSorb Systems has been operating in a distressed neighborhood in my district since 2006. The company has a strong history of supporting the north Philadelphia community, and a majority of its employees are residents of the local community," Vazquez said. "The company is growing and plans to continue hiring local residents. DiSorb also participates in the Philadelphia PREP program, which hires returning citizens. The company also coordinated a 2016 expungement fair that helped honorably discharged veterans expunge arrest and conviction records. DiSorb is also a strong supporter of the Philadelphia Police Department and participated in a city program to install outdoor CCTV cameras, which detectives have used to help solve crimes." Vazquez helped to secure the state solar grant through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The company will provide the same amount in matching funds. The solar panels are expected to produce 168,000 kilowatt-hours of Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery said $2.74 million in grants were awarded today for several projects in the portion of Luzerne County that he represents. Read more
CONSHOHOCKEN, March 16 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley announced today that CubeSmart TRS was awarded a state grant for a solar project at its storage facility. The $92,318 grant, through the Solar Energy Program, was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority board. The funds will help CubeSmart TRS purchase the equipment to construct a roof-mounted solar array at its storage facility at 401 Alan Wood Road. The project, with a total cost of about $250,000, will provide 90 percent of the existing energy consumption at the facility, and will generate 125,772 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. “I’m happy to see a forward-thinking local business pursuing solar energy,” said Daley, D-Montgomery. “We should be encouraging more businesses and organizations to work on becoming energy efficient, and I’m pleased to see the state encouraging innovation with these grants.” The Solar Energy Program provides grants and loans to promote the use of solar energy in Pennsylvania. Read more
READING, March 16 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, announced today that RER Albright PPA LLC will receive a $264,091 grant for the construction of a 455.33 kW roof-mounted solar array in the city of Reading. The Solar Energy Program funding request was approved Friday by the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The funding will go towards the purchase and installation of a roof-mounted solar array on the Albright College administration building located at 1801 N. 12 th St. and will provide 59 percent of the building's energy needs. Albright College will purchase the electricity generated through a 25-year agreement at $.069/kWh with a 3 percent annual escalator. The total project is expected to cost $910,660. “Congratulations to RER Albright LLC on earning this state grant to expand alternative-energy use and reduce the burden on our power grid in Redding,” Rozzi said. “Sustainable infrastructure investments are so important to our local communities, and Albright College will be able to benefit from this project for years to come.” The Solar Energy Program provides financial assistance in the form of grant and loan funds to promote the use of solar energy in Pennsylvania. The program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection under the direction of the CFA. The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency of DCED to administer Read more
HARRISBURG, March 15 – Walk-in service at the New Castle Division of Vital Records will be restored Monday at a new location – 105 Nesbit Road in New Castle – according to state Reps. Chris Sainato and Mark Longietti, who lobbied for the move after those services were ended late last year. Sainato and Longietti were notified of the restoration today by the Department of Health, meaning residents in their districts and the general area will regain the ability to personally obtain important documents such as birth and death certificates. Under information revealed to Sainato and Longietti, the office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and citizens can get birth and death certificates the same day if they make the request by 11:30 a.m. “This is a great move that removes a huge obstacle, which was the 60- to 90-minute drive to Pittsburgh that was necessary after the old office closed,” said Sainato, D-Lawrence. “I thank Representative Longietti for helping put forth a united front on this matter, and am grateful that the administration listened.” Longietti, D-Mercer, also hailed the move, reiterating the two representatives’ longstanding point that it’s more important than ever for rural and suburban dwellers to have such access, particularly with the advent of REAL ID driver’s license requirements. “We respectfully asked that this administrative decision be reversed, and now that it has Read more
ERIE, March 15 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public roundtable on community planning and its role in community and economic development. The roundtable discussion will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Room 112, 301 Peninsula Drive. Bizzarro requested the meeting to learn more about plans that are the blue print for community and economic development. The roundtable will feature discussion between professional planners, regional elected officials, state agency staff, and state legislators from all across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 3 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 3:10 p.m. Discussion with panelists: Amy Murdock , planning director, Erie County Kathy Wyrosdick , planning director, City of Erie Matt Waldinger , director of planning and development, Millcreek Township Mark Nicholson, P.E. , civil engineer manager, state Transportation Department 4:50 p.m. Closing remarks The roundtable is one in a series of meetings all over the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA that includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Visit planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. The media and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 15 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., said she voted against H.B. 153 on Tuesday because the legislation did not include language to ensure a nonpartisan redistricting process, in addition to other reasons. The legislation passed with a vote of 109-80. The current method for redistricting, which takes place every 10 years after the census, uses a highly partisan method for redrawing state House and state Senate legislative district boundaries, DeLissio said. H.B. 153 would reduce the size of the House of Representatives from 203 to 153 members. The downsizing that would occur under the bill would necessitate decisions about which districts to eliminate, something not addressed in the bill currently, she added. The bill would further impact urban and rural areas by diluting representation for those areas. “The current process for redrawing legislative district boundaries is controlled by the legislative leadership, which historically has created maps for partisan political purposes,” DeLissio said. “The end result is usually an incumbent-protection plan that makes many districts safe and therefore, non-competitive. “If the commonwealth were to be divided into larger districts, many Pennsylvanians could find it challenging to receive the level and quality of representation they deserve. I am apprehensive of any plan that would result in citizens receiving less-than-adequate service from Read more
HARRISBURG, March 15 -- State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, announced today she will reintroduce mental health system reform legislation in order to strengthen community mental health crisis response systems and treatment programs to ensure individuals with debilitating mental illness receive treatment. Davidson stated her agenda was set to change the conversation surrounding mental health. That is why she also joined several House colleagues and mental health advocates this week for a special news conference to discuss the relationship between mental health and school safety. Participants stressed the need to have this discussion without adding stigma or reinforcing negative stereotypes on those with a mental health issue. The package of legislation she will propose includes four bills designated to address specialized treatment programs for those living with serious mental illness, incarceration and inadequate care. The first bill would codify the standards and guidelines for assertive community treatment created by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Human Services. Specifically, the legislation would provide for the establishment, organization, treatment, and evaluation of assertive community treatment services. The second bill would amend The Insurance Company Law, which would expand coverage beyond the three types of treatment currently serviced -- hospitalization, partial-hospitalization and intensive out Read more
HARRISBURG, March 15 – Fearing that school districts are continuously spending beyond their means and leaving taxpayers no choice but to foot the bill, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has introduced legislation that would require school districts to ask the taxpayer’s permission to raise property taxes in certain instances. Each September, the Pennsylvania Department of Education publishes an index for determining the allowable district tax rate increase for the following fiscal year. If a school district proposes a tax rate increase above the posted index, there are currently two options available: (1) the tax rate increase must be approved by referendum by the district’s voters at the next primary election, or, (2) a referendum exception must be obtained from PDE, thereby bypassing the referendum process. “Taxpayers are being left out of the decision making process on an issue that directly affects the money in their pocket,” DeLuca said. “If a school district is recklessly spending more money than allotted for a fiscal year, it shouldn’t be forced upon the taxpayer to make up the deficit.” DeLuca’s legislation, H.B. 2142 , would amend the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006 by limiting a school district to two consecutive exception requests to raise property taxes above the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s mandated property tax index during a three-year period. A third request to raise taxes above the Read more
HARRISBURG, March 15 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky today issued the following statement regarding the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia city councils’ recent unanimous adoption of resolutions urging state legislators to support the #METOO Bill and calling for swift action on the bill: “I’m grateful to the members of the Pittsburgh City Council and the Philadelphia City Council for supporting H.B. 1965 and understanding the need to hold those who harass people accountable and create a better environment for everyone working at the state Capitol. "The councils’ resolutions reinforce the urgency of this work. As more reports of harassment have come to light, it’s become clear that our current system does not support victims of sexual harassment. We need to take action now to ensure a fair and transparent system for handling complaints, independent of politics. H.B. 1965 would create an independent Office of Compliance and require that an independent investigator follow up on any complaint made by a staffer in the state Capitol, among other reforms. "I’m calling on House leadership to move quickly on H.B. 1965 and a package of related bills introduced by women of the Pennsylvania House and Senate. These measures will help us end the culture of fear and harassment and make sure victims know that when they speak up, they will be heard.” Read more
ERIE, March 15 –State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion on his H.B. 1082 that would improve workplace safety in Pennsylvania. The public roundtable will take place at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 at the Teamsters Local #397, 1344 East 11th St., Erie. Harkins requested the meeting to continue public discussion on “Jake’s Law” that he introduced in memory of Jake Schwab. State legislators from across the state, and Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will take part in the roundtable. The current agenda is: 3 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 3:10 p.m. Discussion with Panelists: Rick Bloomingdale , president, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Dave Henderson , director, AFSCME District Council 85 John Renwick , president, Amalgamated Transit Union-Local 568 Diane Stein , labor advocate Tiffany Schwab , widow of Jake Schwab Jack Lee, Jr ., treasurer/director of land development/assistant roadmaster, Summit Township Board of Supervisors 4:50 p.m. Closing Remarks The roundtable is one in a series of meetings all over the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA that includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Visit planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. The media and public are encouraged to attend. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 15 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today announced that Erie County and several area municipalities, including two in the 3 rd Legislative District, have been awarded a total of $632,496 in state grants from the Community Development Block Grant Program. “I’m excited that projects across the Erie region are receiving overwhelming support from the commonwealth, which is evident with the release of these grants,” Bizzarro said. “The secured CDBG grant money will go a long way in helping these municipalities continue their beautification efforts here in Erie County.” Erie County will receive $270,005 for projects in the county. The county will also receive the following awards on behalf of area municipalities: Edinboro Borough, $101,678 ; Girard Township, $90,954; McKean Township, $85,391 ; and North East Borough, $84,468. “I’m also happy to note that two municipalities in the 3 rd Legislative District, Edinboro Borough and McKean Township, were included in the grant disbursement,” Bizzarro said. “I’m more than confident they’ll use these funds in a way that will further progress the development of our district.” The Community Development Block Grant Program through the Department of Community and Economic Development provides funding for such community developments as housing rehabilitation, public services, community facilities, infrastructure improvement, Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 15 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., will host an environmental justice panel from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 at the Center for Business and Industry of the Community College of Philadelphia, 18th and Callowhill streets, 19130. Bullock will be joined by city environmental leaders to discuss efforts to combat environmental injustice and expand opportunities for good-paying green jobs. “We are facing the most serious economic and environmental challenges in history. This panel is a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of green jobs in the city and their impact when building a sustainable economy,” Bullock said. Staff will be on hand to assist with state-related issues. For more information, constituents can call (215) 684-3738. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced that the House today adopted a resolution he sponsored—H.R. 724—honoring the 50th anniversary of the beloved children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” “More than any other children’s show, ‘Mister Rogers’ left a mark on generations of children, teaching civility, patience and respect for others,” Petrarca said. “But Latrobe native Fred Rogers did more than that—he taught kids that it was OK to express their feelings and frustrations and that they would still be safe and loved. It’s hard to imagine more important life lessons.” “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” first aired in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes, with the final show airing in 2001. In each episode, after changing into sneakers and his signature sweater, Rogers talked earnestly with his young audience, took them on field trips to neighborhood places, introduced them to workers in different fields and taught them about crafts and music. In his gentle voice, he also communicated more serious topics, such as the importance of honesty and being true to oneself. “I’m so glad the House has adopted this resolution to honor the show and keep its memory alive,” Petrarca said. “The simple life lessons of honesty, respect and good citizenship that Fred Rogers taught still matter so much today, Read more
HARRISBURG, March 14 – PA SAFE Caucus members today outlined their legislative goals related to gun safety reform during a Capitol news conference, one month following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and coinciding with a national student walkout calling for immediate changes to gun laws across the country. Lawmakers spoke about their frustrations with trying to pass commonsense legislation as well as specific House bills that they would like to see move from committee. “The time is now to finally say enough is enough — to listen to the students whose wisdom and bravery is inspirational,” said PA SAFE Co-chair Madeleine Dean , D-Montgomery. “We can and must do something to combat this gun violence epidemic, not just to prevent mass shootings like in Parkland, but to combat the everyday violence that claims 33,000 lives a year in this country, and injures 80,000 others in the crossfire.” Members expressed their expectations ahead of a special set of hearings on gun laws scheduled for the week of April 9. "We are pleased to see that the House Judiciary Committee will give members a chance to speak about important gun safety proposals,” said PA SAFE Co-chair Dan Frankel , D-Allegheny. “But we also know that a hearing is not enough – we expect the chance to vet some of these bills on the House floor in the very near future.” “Family and close friends are often the first to notice Read more
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