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Legislative Update

March 19, 2010
By Andy Goodman

Remaining Session Days
March has been an action packed month in Harrisburg. Our office expects April, May and June to be energized too. The House Democrats have begun the process of moving the 2010 budget to the Senate. It is our educated opinion that the legislature will try its best to finish the budget on time. Because of elections, a late budget will most likely be avoided. Between now and June 1st, the legislature is scheduled to be in session 15 days. Those 15 session days are crucial.
Whether we are being proactive or defensive on legislation, the remaining days will give us clear results and direction we’ll follow into the summer and fall.

The House and Senate will not return for “lame duck” (the period after the general election). It is probable that they will only be in fall session for approximately 15 more days. Knowing the legislative schedule will help you with issue management, grassroots and political action committee development. The fall session schedule will be released in the near future.

Sales Tax Expansion and Rate Decrease
Back in February, Governor Rendell announced his plan to expand the number of goods and services that would have to pay the Commonwealth’s sales tax and lower the rate from 6% to 4%. Although that plan sounds, “sort of ok,” when you look at the planned expansion – it’s scary. In today’s difficult financial times, charging sales tax on nearly every item or service would exacerbate the expenses incurred by businesses and consumers. Moreover, a 4% tax on some of the
“big ticket” items listed would carry a large price tag. The legislation that would enact the plan has not yet been introduced; however a preliminary list has been released. The list is attached. After you read it, you will understand why expanding the sales tax would hard-hit everyone’s bottom line. A Harrisburg based coalition continues to organize to fight the Governor’s plan. Staying involved on issues like this is very important. The groups that don’t are the first to get
taxed! Our office is continually developing strategy on the issue and will be involved on behalf of our clients.

Retirements and Elections
Members of the House and Senate have announced their intentions for 2011. Below is a list of known members who will not be here for the 2011-12 legislative session.
House Retirements
Keith McCall - D
Russ Fairchild - R
Merle Phillips - R
Tony Melio- D
Kathy Manderino - D
Will Gabig - R
Frank Oliver - D
Barbara McIlvaine Smith - D
Richard Grucela - D
Katie True - R
Bob Belfanti - D
Currently Vacant House Seats
20th District – Don Walko (Now a Judge)
138th District – Craig Dally (Now a Judge)
147th District – Bob Mensch (Now a Senator)

Senate Retirements
Bob Mellow – D
Raphael Musto – D
Barry Stout – D

Leaving House to run for other office
Jim Wansacz – D (Running for Senate)
John Yudichak – D (Running for Senate)
Tim Solobay – D (Running for Senate)
Sam Rohrer – R (Running for Governor)
Brian Lentz – D (Running for Congress)
Mario Civera – R (Delaware County Council)

74 Sales Tax Exemptions to be Repealed - Governor's 2010-11 Budget

Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services
Administrative services
Advertising, public relations & related services
Air transportation
Airline Catering
All other professional and technical services
Amusement & recreation industries
Architectural, engineering, & related services
Bad Debts
Basic television
Call Center Credit
Candy and Gum
Caskets and Burial Vaults
Catalogs and Direct Mail Advertising
Charges for Returnable Containers
Coal
Coin Operated Food and Beverage Vending
Machines
Commercial Vessels (Construction & Repair)
Commercial Vessels (Equipment, Maintenance)
Common Carriers
Construction of Memorials
Consulting (scientific, environmental, &
technical)
Custom programming, design & data processing
Dry-cleaning & laundry services
Electric - Residential
Electrical, plumbing, heating & AC service fees
Financial Institutions Fees
Firewood
Fish Feed
Flags
Fuel Oil/Gas - Residential
Funeral parlors, crematories & death care
services
Gratuities
Helicopters
Horses Sold To Out of State Purchasers
Hotel-Permanent Resident
Information services
Investment Metal Bullion & Investment Coins
Legal
Liquor or Malt Beverage Purchased From Retail Dispenser
Magazines
Mfg. Exemption (Public Utility)
Motor Vehicles (Out-of-State Purchases)
Museums, historical sites, zoos, & parks For-
Profit
Newspapers
Non-Prescription Drugs
Other transportation
Other: personal services
Parking lots & garages
Personal care services
Personal Hygiene Products
Rail Transportation Equipment
Recreational parks, camps & campgrounds
Rental of Films for Commercial Exhibition
School Buses
Scientific research & development services
Services to Buildings and Dwellings
Specialized design
Spectator sports admissions (excludes schools)
Stair Lift Devices
Telephone - Residential
Temporary Usage
Textbooks
Theater, dance, music & performing arts
admissions For-Profit
Tourist Promotion Agencies
Transit & ground transportation
Trout
Truck transportation
Uniform Commercial Code Filing Fees
Veterinary fees
Warehouse Storage
Waste management and remediation services
Water and Sewage Services
Wrapping and Packing Supplies

 

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