State Capitol Roundup
10/4/2013

Benninghoff Assigned to House Health Committee

 

State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) this week was assigned to serve as a member of the House Health Committee for the remainder of the 2013-14 legislative session.  Benninghoff is a former Centre County coroner and former hospital orderly. 

 

House Considers School Property Tax Reform Legislation


The House took up the issue of property tax relief this week, sending one measure on to the Senate and positioning three others for votes when the House returns to session on Oct. 15.  House Bill 1189, which was approved by the House, would g
ive local school districts the ability to eliminate property taxes in favor of an array of taxing options that best suits the individual needs of residents and students of local school districts.  The taxing options would include Earned Income and Net Profits Tax, Mercantile Tax and/or the Business Privilege Tax.  The bill would specifically limit revenue raised from the elimination tax from business to 50 percent.  The bill would mandate that every dollar raised through the elimination tax shall go to reduce property taxes dollar for dollar.  The House also discussed three additional measures, including Benninghoff’s House Bill 1685, which would allow school districts to increase their Earned Income Tax (EIT) rate in order to provide dollar-for-dollar property tax relief.  The bill would allow school districts to do this without seeking voter approval through a referendum, but they could only use those dollars to reduce or eliminate property taxes.  The chamber also considered House Bill 1677, which would amend state law regarding limitations on the homestead property exclusion, and House Bill 1685, which would allow school districts to increase their Earned Income Tax (EIT) rate in order to provide dollar-for-dollar property tax relief.  The bill would allow school districts to do this without seeking voter approval through a referendum, but they could only use those dollars to reduce or eliminate property taxes.

 

House Approves Tourism Package

Aimed at Leveraging More Jobs and Money for PA

 

The House approved two proposals this week to enhance tourism in Pennsylvania in order to boost state revenue and create additional jobs.  House Bill 1215 would create an 11-member independent Pennsylvania Tourism Commission that would serve as the state’s official tourism marketing agency.  The commission would be comprised of marketing professionals and those with a stake in the tourism industry.  House Bill 1216 would complement the tourism commission through establishing a $15 million tax credit to fund the state’s marketing and promotion efforts.  Taxpayers could receive a tax credit against the full value of contributions they make to the Pennsylvania Tourism Commission.  Pennsylvania tourism has a $36 billion annual economic impact on the state, supports more than 450,000 jobs and generates $3.6 billion in state and local taxes.

 

Bill Aims to Increase Immunization Access for Pennsylvania Children, Military Families

 

This week, action was urged on legislation aimed at making it easier for Pennsylvanians to access immunizations for their children, especially children in military families.  House Bill 776 would allow certified pharmacists to deliver immunizations to children older than age 7.  Current law prohibits pharmacists from administering immunizations to anyone under the age of 18.  This is especially problematic for the state’s military families because Tricare, the military’s health insurance plan, provides free immunization coverage under its pharmacy benefit but not its medical benefit.  House Bill 776 would close this loophole.  Last year, the Department of Health made certain vaccinations, including Pertussis, mandatory for school entry.  House Bill 776 would increase access to these imperative immunizations for all children.  The bill is awaiting consideration by the full House.

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