State Capitol Roundup
1/25/2013

House Finance Committee Approves Bills

to Benefit Small and Family-Owned Businesses

The House Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), approved two bills this week aimed at easing the tax burden on Pennsylvania small business owners.  House Bill 48 would eliminate the Pennsylvania inheritance tax on assets of family-owned business enterprises transferred upon death to other family members, allowing business owners to keep their businesses viable.  Under current law, any business assets transferred upon death of an owner are subject to different rates of taxation depending to whom the business is being transferred.  Those rates can range from 4.5 percent to 15 percent, sometimes forcing business owners to resort to forced liquidation of essential business resources.  The committee also passed House Bill 78, which would eliminate the corporate loans tax for resident individuals who earn interest on bonds and non-resident corporations whose treasurers are located within the Commonwealth.  Current law gives a tax advantage to out-of-state lenders, and House Bill 78 encourages reinvestment in Pennsylvania to allow small businesses to acquire the capital they need to remain solvent.  Both bills now head to the full House for consideration.

 

House Committees Address Child Protection Issues

 

The House Children and Youth and Judiciary committees held a joint hearing this week to review the recommendations outlined in the report offered by the Task Force on Child Protection.  The task force, established in December 2011, was charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the laws and procedures relating to the health and safety of children.  Among the top recommendations made by the task force are clarifying and furthering the definition of child abuse in the state’s child protection law.  Currently, child abuse is defined differently in criminal law than in civil protection matters handled by Children and Youth caseworkers.  As a result, different thresholds must be met for action by counties and/or law enforcement.  The report also recommended adding more professionals to the list of mandated reporters with a required training element and implementing more child advocacy centers (CACs), which use a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate, prosecute and treat victims of child abuse.  Both committees will hold additional informational meetings and voting meetings in February and March to further their work on the task force recommendations.

 

New Electronics Recycling Law in Effect

 

As of Thursday, Jan. 24, electronic devices can no longer be thrown away with other trash.  Passed in 2010, the Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act requires consumers and businesses to recycle covered devices, such as computers, laptops, computer monitors, televisions and tablets.  Trash haulers will no longer take covered devices unless a municipality has a curbside electronics collection program that ultimately sends the devices to an electronics recycler. They also may not be taken to, or accepted by, landfills or other solid waste disposal facilities.  Consumers may continue to recycle their electronics through a county or municipal electronic recycling program, if one is available.  Consumers should first contact drop-off locations to see what types of electronics will be accepted at a given location.  Some retailers are offering recycling programs as well.  Additional information about electronics recycling, including a list of recycling programs and drop-off locations, is available on Benninghoff’s website at www.KerryBenninghoff.com.

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