House Republicans unveiled a legislative package designed to achieve a “better normal.” The initiative, “Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback,” would incentivize manufacturers and provide protections to small businesses, as well as offer tax and regulatory reform to bring family-sustaining jobs to Pennsylvania.
“After the year our job creators and workers have had due to the crisis, we cannot wait any longer to rebuild Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington). “This package of bills is about jobs, families and growth. Taking on these issues now will ensure a stronger future for our children and grandchildren.”
To bring more jobs back to Pennsylvania, Kail’s bill would allow the Commonwealth Financing Authority to designate strategic and targeted zones in the state to be used as the base of operations for manufacturing. Businesses in these zones would receive tax abatements for state and local taxes and would be eligible for targeted job creation tax credits.
The second bill, sponsored by Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland), would allow job creators to recover and reinvest in Pennsylvania by increasing the net operating loss to 100 percent. The additional 60 percent dedication can only be from losses incurred in 2020.
To prioritize workforce development, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) drafted legislation that would encourage companies and employers to invest in skilled training and workforce development programs.
Another bill, drafted by Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington), would provide tax relief to low-income families and foster a climate aimed to assist struggling businesses and attract new business into the commonwealth by adjusting the special poverty provisions tax exemption thresholds and reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax from 9.99 percent to 5.99 percent by Jan. 1, 2025.
Another bill in the package, authored by Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-Susquehanna/Wayne), would ensure permitting decisions are made promptly and reliably by deeming Department of Environmental Protection permit applications administratively complete if accompanied by a professional engineer’s affidavit attesting to the sufficiency of the application. DEP would be required to render a decision on any permit application without an affidavit within 45 days.
The final bill, authored by Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland), would help provide for the expedited and efficient resolution of lawsuits arising out of exposure to COVID-19.
The resolution in the package, drafted by Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington), would create a committee to review opportunities for the redevelopment of new industries in the commonwealth, including advanced manufacturing.
The package of bills is similar to an identically named package in the previous legislative session. While those bills weren’t signed into law, the intention is to allow ample opportunity this time by introducing the bills early this session.
“We’re proud to take the lead on such a critical package of bills. The most important part of being an elected official is improving the lives of the people you serve, and we’re confident this package would have an incredibly positive impact on Pennsylvania,” the group said. “It’s time for the Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback.”