Senate Passes 2022-23 State Budget that Cuts Taxes, Funds Essential Services

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a $45.2 billion General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 that meets the needs of Pennsylvanians today without creating multi-billion-dollar budget deficits in the future, according to Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24), who voted for the measure. Senate Bill 1100 now goes to the governor for enactment into law.

The $45.2 billion budget, which also includes federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, represents a 2.9% increase over the previous year’s spending – and $500 million less than Gov. Tom Wolf’s original budget request.

The budget agreement does not include any broad-based tax increases and is structured in a way to minimize the risk of tax increases in the years ahead.

“It was important that we maintained fiscal discipline and sent more money to the Rainy Day Fund to protect taxpayers if the economy sinks lower,” said Mensch.

In fact, the budget actually cuts the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate from 9.99% to 8.99% and creates a phased reduction to 4.99% by 2031, moves designed to attract employers and residents to Pennsylvania.

As important as the economic boost provided by this plan, which will have a projected ending balance of $3.6 billion, the 2022-23 budget includes a $2.1 billion transfer to the Rainy Day Fund, bringing the total balance to nearly $5 billion.

These fiscally responsible steps are critical because many economic indicators are showing a risk of a recession on the horizon. Most recently, Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office estimated a 60% chance of economic stagnation or a “growth recession” happening, and a 30% chance of a recession.

The budget includes a $525 million increase for Basic Education Funding, $225 million to provide additional support for the state’s 100 poorest school districts, a $100 million increase for Special Education funding, an additional $60 million for Pre-K Counts and $19 million more for Head Start Supplemental Assistance.

It also includes an additional $125 million in Education Improvement Tax Credits to ensure more students can learn in the educational environment that best suits their needs. Higher education receives a funding boost as well.

Increased funding is also dedicated in this year’s budget to ensure our schools are safe and secure: $100 million is appropriated for the Ready to Learn Block Grant program to address school-based mental health; and $100 million in funding is directed to a new General Fund appropriation for School Safety and Security to address physical safety and security at schools.

Building on our efforts last year to help address the serious financial challenges of our nursing homes and long-term care providers, this budget includes $150 million for costs related to nursing home staffing, $250 million in ARPA funding for long-term living programs and $20 million for supplementary payments to personal care homes.

Inflation is driving up the cost of everything, including housing, both owned and rented, and this budget directs $540 million in ARPA funding to help our most vulnerable and low-income residents by funding affordable housing construction programs, offering additional home repair assistance and bolstering the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

“This spending plan provides meaningful support for schools and vital services, while helping to ensure long-term fiscal stability,” Mensch said. “Pennsylvania will be well positioned for the economic challenges ahead.”

Senator Mensch’s Remarks.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com. State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

 

Contact: Lidia Di Fiore ldifiore@pasen.gov 215-541-2388

Harrisburg Highlights-Week of June 20, 2022

Dear Friends,

As the June 30 deadline to pass a state budget approaches, the Senate spent part of this session week positioning bills that will be used to create a 2022-23 spending plan, along with passing other measures and holding committee activity.

The Senate approved my legislation to increase opportunities for students to attend Valley Forge Military Academy and College and boost the number of qualified commissioned officers in the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Senate Bill 1194 would establish a Pennsylvania Military Academy Assistance Program to recruit, train, educate and retain cadets from Valley Forge Military Academy and College (also known as the Pennsylvania Military Academy.) This will ensure that more graduates remain and serve in Pennsylvania. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Senate also approved legislation to improve workforce development initiatives and better prepare Pennsylvania students for jobs that will be in demand after they graduate.

House Bill 723 incorporated language from a bill I am sponsoring with Sen. Vince Hughes (D-7), Senate Bill 168, that requires the state Department of Labor and Industry to collect data on emerging and projected future employment sectors in Pennsylvania and send it to educational institutions. Schools would be required to use the information to develop career education programs and for providing career guidance to students. The amended bill will return to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Legislation I co-sponsored that passed the Senate:

Senate Bill 569 protects the rights of Pennsylvania’s corrections officers by requiring specific procedures for suspensions and interrogations when an officer is accused of misconduct. 

Senate Bill 1093 allows energy-efficient lighting to be installed on outdoor advertising devices, such as billboards, while maintaining compliance with federal regulations.

Senate Bill 1173 gives continuing educational credits to dentists who volunteer at free clinics and charity events.

Other measures that passed the Senate include:

Senate Bill 1188 requires insurance coverage for testing and treatment of tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease. Pennsylvania leads the nation in Lyme disease cases.

Senate Bill 1124 requires the Department of Human Services to check death certificates with the Bureau of Vital Statistics so that Medical Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments can be halted immediately when a recipient’s death is recorded, and welfare fraud can be prevented.

You can find a list of everything the Senate voted on this week here.

 

CONTACT: Lidia Di Fiore  ldifiore@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388

Senators Collett & Mensch celebrate Boston Legacy Foundation & Road Renaming After Local Hero

Harrisburg, Pa. – June 22, 2022 — Yesterday, Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks) and Senator Bob Mensch (R-24 Montgomery/Berks/Bucks) welcomed guests from the Boston Legacy Foundation in Harrisburg to celebrate the signing into law of HB 1560, which renames State Route 2004, North Broad Street in the Borough of Lansdale and Hatfield Township, as the Doctor Frank Erdman Boston Memorial Highway.

Senate guests included George Whitehair (Executive Director of the Boston Legacy Foundation), Khoi and Heather Pham (artist and author team of the Doc Boston Adventures comic book), Bibhu and Bimal Moktan, and Doctor Francis Jeyaraj (physician and Boston Legacy Foundation member).

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Boston Legacy Foundation and their community partners, Doctor Boston’s achievements are being recognized far and wide, and this unsung trailblazer is finally receiving the accolades he deserves,” said Senator Collett.

Born in Philadelphia in 1890, Doctor Frank Erdman Boston was a physician, surgeon, and veteran who served as a medical officer with the 317th Engineering Regiment (one of the few Black regiments) during World War I. After returning to civilian life, Doctor Boston settled in the Lansdale area, where he became one of the first Black Americans to found both a hospital (Elm Terrance Hospital, which became Jefferson Lansdale Hospital) and an ambulance corps, both of which are still active today. Doctor Frank Erdman Boston Memorial Highway will honor this historic figure on the road leading to the Jefferson Lansdale Hospital.

“We are very appreciative, and I know the people that are here today representing all of Lansdale are very appreciative of the fact we are now naming that street, the Dr. Boston Highway,” said Senator Mensch. 

Learn more about Dr. Frank Boston’s story at bostonlegacyfoundation.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Senator Collett: Bailey Landis, Bailey.Landis@pasenate.com, 215-688-0493

Senator Mensch: Lidia Di Fiore, ldifiore@pasen.gov, 215-541-2388

Meeting to receive reports

Legislative Budget and Finance Committee

Wednesday, June 22nd | 9 a.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8 E-B


Agenda

To release a report entitled “A Report on the Limitations on Liability Under Pennsylvania’s Sovereign and Governmental Immunity Laws”

Harrisburg Highlights- Week of May 23, 2022

Dear Friends, 

The Senate was in session this week, with multiple committee meetings and three days of voting by the full chamber.

I was pleased that the Senate approved by legislation establishing the position of Pennsylvania Chief Nursing Officer, recognizing the crucial role that registered nurses play in the delivery of health care.

Under Senate Bill 848, the duties of the Pennsylvania Chief Nursing Officer would include:

  • Advising the governor and Secretary of Health.
  • Participating in the decision-making process of the Department of Health (DOH) on policies related to nursing and public health issues.
  • Reviewing professional standards and practices in nursing and public health.
  • Consulting with recognized experts on nursing and public health matters which are within the jurisdiction of the DOH.
  • Providing advice on nursing and public health issues to the secretary and to other executive branch agencies.
  • Coordinating educational, informational and other programming for the promotion of wellness, public health and nursing issues.

Senate Bill 848 will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Senate also approved and sent to the House Senate Bill 230, which closes a loophole that made many senior citizens ineligible for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. The bill would allow retirees to transfer those retirement account investments between accounts within 60 days without counting toward income when applying for property tax or rent relief. If those funds are not invested into another qualified retirement plan within 60 days, the funds will be considered income.

Other notable bills passed by the Senate:

  • Senate Bill 1186 allocates a portion of the fee from the sale of the special USA semiquincentennial registration plate to the Pennsylvania Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial.
  • House Bill 889 updates international nursing licensure exam requirements.
  • Senate Bill 1043 reduces the amount of paperwork required by the Steel Products Procurement Act.
  • Senate Bill 1163 protects the identities and other personal information of Pennsylvania lottery prizewinners.

 

CONTACT: Lidia Di Fiore ldifiore@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388

Meeting to receive reports

Legislative Budget and Finance Committee

Wednesday, May 25th | 9 a.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8 E-B

Agenda

Meeting to release two reports entitled: 1) A Performance Audit of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and 2) Pennsylvania CARE Act Impact on Patient Outcomes

Sens. Mensch and Browne, Rep. Staats Announce $2 Million Redevelopment Grant for Bucks County Site

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP – Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24), Sen. Pat Browne (R-16) and Rep. Craig Staats (R-145) were on hand in Richland Township today to announce the awarding of a $2 million state redevelopment grant.

The lawmakers said Klover SEPA, Inc. was awarded $2 million for its Northfield Lot 3 manufacturing expansion. The grant will help fund the construction of a crane-served industrial land condominium that is fully air conditioned with an energy efficient air rotation system.

“As our region continues to emerge from a pandemic-ravaged economy, it’s important to bring these tax dollars back to the area to create jobs and provide economic stability,” Mensch said. “I’m happy to join my colleagues in announcing this critical investment in Bucks County.”

“Light manufacturing, especially companies like Klover, continue to play a vital role in the Pennsylvania economy by providing good-paying jobs and diversifying our economy,” said Browne, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I am honored to join my colleagues in announcing this state investment, which will help to expand Klover’s facilities, capabilities and positive impact on our region.”

“This grant will not only expand project possibilities for Klover SEPA, Inc., but will create a number of jobs for our community,” Staats said. “It is well-deserved funding for a company that demonstrates commitment to our businesses, community members and economy.”

 “We are proud and honored to have been selected for this grant to assist us in continuing to create jobs in Richland Township and the Greater Quakertown Area,” said Jerry Kilhefner, President of Klover Contracting, Inc.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.

 

CONTACTS:

(Sen. Mensch) Lidia Di Fiore ldifiore@pasen.gov  215-541-2388

(Sen. Browne) Matt Szuchyt mszuchyt@pasen.gov 610-821-8468

 (Rep. Staats)  Rene Morrow rmorrow@pahousegop.com  717-260-6273

MEDIA ADVISORY: Mensch, Browne and Staats to award Klover Contracting with $2 million RACP Grant Friday

Harrisburg– Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) will be joining Senator Pat Browne (R-16) and State Representative Craig Staats (R-145), Friday, May 6 in the awarding of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant of $2 million to Klover Contracting.

This grant program is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. Klover Contract plans to construct a crane-served industrial land condominium which is fully air conditioned with an energy efficient air rotation system.

WHERE: Klover Contracting, 1121 Richland Commerce Dr STE B, Quakertown, PA 18951.

WHEN: May 6, 2022 at 12:00pm

WHY: Awarding of $2 million RACP Grant to Klover Contracting

 

Contact: Lidia Di Fiore ldifiore@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388

Harrisburg Highlights Week of April 11, 2022

This past week in Harrisburg, both the House and Senate were in Session.  There was quite a bit of Committee and Floor activity in both Chambers, but all in all it was a productive and important week in the General Assembly.

I was fortunate enough to have two of my bills considered by Committees this week, one in the Appropriates Committee that has been approved previously and another in the Health and Human Services Committee that has been a work in progress for several months. 

  • First, my Senate Bill 848 was approved in Appropriations on Monday, and it seeks to create the Office of Chief Nursing Officer of the Commonwealth, similar to our Physician General. 
  • On Tuesday, the Health and Human Services Committee passed my Senate Bill 749, with an amendment, which adds much needed clarification to the Medical Marijuana Act in terms of employees and employers.
  • Also of note, the Senate Transportation Committee

In terms of the Floor votes, the two most important bills in my opinion had to deal with elections.  First, Senate Bill 982 (Baker) banned third-parties from contributing to election operations which avoids a clear conflict of interest.  Second, Senate Bill 1200 (Dush) to clarify the election code, where drop boxes are not mentioned, and specify that the only place mail-in or absentee ballots can be physically returned is the County election office in the County seat.  Both of these bills passed and are now under consideration in the House.

Other notable floor votes:

 

CONTACT: Lidia Di Fiore  ldifiore@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388

Mensch Bill 749 passes in the Health and Human Services Committee

Senate Bill 749 sponsored by Senator Mensch passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee yesterday. Senate Bill 749 amends Act 16 of 2016, better known as the Medical Marijuana Act, to address any situation of impairment by an employee in the workplace.

Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, this inconsistency has created issues for employees and employers since the guidelines for managing an employee’s use of legal prescription drugs are not applicable to medical marijuana laws in Pennsylvania.

Because of this, Senate Bill 749 will try to adhere federal provisions regarding legal drugs as closely as possible in efforts to try to be fair to employees while still ensuring workplace safety.  Narrowly tailored to only apply to safety-sensitive positions, and not every job and employee in the Commonwealth, Senate Bill 749 is trying to address the positions with the most serious risk of harm in the workplace where the impairment of the employee increases danger levels.

The question of how to differentiate the presence of marijuana in an employee’s system and impairment, and how one would test or measure these levels, is an important distinction in the bill. “We are dealing with impairment and not under being the influence,” Mensch said.  “It’s more than a subtle difference. It’s a very specific difference and it makes the bill, I believe, much more workable.”

This piece of legislation has been “lengthy and challenging” said Committee Chair Senator Michelle Brooks (R-Mercer), but actions will be taken in an effort to revise and ensure this crucial piece of legislation is passed for the benefit of employees and employers.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

 

CONTACT: Lidia Di Fiore  ldifiore@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388