Jun. 09, 2017

The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
House OKs Pension Changes for New Employees

In a major step forward in the effort to reform the state’s public pension systems, the House this week passed legislation that aims to slow the growth of pension liabilities, shift risk away from taxpayers and ensure the Commonwealth can meet its future pension obligations.

Senate Bill 1, which received bipartisan support, would establish three new public pension plans from which state employees and teachers hired in 2019 or later can choose. Each offers a defined contribution component, similar to a 401(k) commonly offered to workers in the private sector. The plans provide future employees with retirement security and portability while also protecting taxpayers.

The governor is expected to sign the measure. Learn more here.
Bill to Base Budget Decisions on Performance Passes House

To help ensure tax dollars are used to their maximum benefit, the House passed legislation, which would require performance-based budgeting.

This type of budgeting uses performance matrices to determine whether each state department has met its goals and objectives, and bases future budget allocations on what was accomplished with the dollars given. Budget requests would include itemized expenditures for all activities required by state and federal statutes at minimum and current levels.

This is another effort by the House to stand up for taxpayers and reinvent the way state government operates. House Bill 410 now goes to the Senate for review.
Economic Update

Pennsylvania’s General Fund revenue collections for May were $2.58 billion, which was $99 million more than expected. For the 2016-17 Fiscal Year, General Fund collections of $28.41 billion are below the official estimate by $1.12 billion. Learn more here.
Improving a Health, Human Service Helpline

To help residents better access both private and public human services, House Bill 211 passed the House this week to improve Pennsylvania’s 2-1-1 system.

The 2-1-1 system is a free, confidential, 24-hour information and referral service provided by the United Way that connects Pennsylvanians in need with health and human service assistance available through government programs, along with private and nonprofit organizations in their communities.

The new public-private grant program established under the bill would help expand the service, develop mobile applications and ensure efficiency and quality standards across the state, all while reducing the taxpayer costs needed ensure its success. House Bill 211 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Tax Amnesty Ends June 19

Taxpayers who owe state taxes only have a few more days to take advantage of the latest tax amnesty period. The program, which offers incentives to Pennsylvanians to settle their delinquent tax accounts, is expected to generate as much as $150 million in revenue for the Commonwealth. The program does not “forgive” taxes owed but instead waives penalties, collection and lien fees, and half of the interest owed.

The amnesty period runs until June 19, 2017. All taxes owed to the Commonwealth administered by the Department of Revenue are eligible for the program. Any unpaid taxes, penalties and interest after Dec. 31, 2015, are not eligible. Learn more here.
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