Gary Rotstein | Monday, January 21, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sports betting and internet-based lottery games are here, casino games on your phone will likely be available within months and new mini-casino options closer to home for many Pennsylvania should be open a year from now.
Such new forms of gambling — even though many are yet to get started — are on pace to give the state a $300 million-plus cash infusion through new fees assisting its general fund. And that’s not even taking into account the prospects still ahead for playing devices similar to slot machines at certain truckstops and casino-style games on computer tablets at airports.
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s deficit-riddled finances are in new territory, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf assembles a package to balance the state’s budget without involvement from a Republican-controlled Legislature riven by ideological and provincial disputes.
Three-and-a-half months into the state’s fiscal year, Wolf has bypassed a Legislature that hasn’t sorted out a way to finance a nearly $32 billion budget bill it passed June 30. Instead, he is working on a $2.2 billion budget-balancing strategy that relies heavily on borrowing to get the state through the year.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf should start freezing spending on various programs because the deficit-strapped state government soon will not be able to pay every bill on time, Pennsylvania’s ranking state senator said Monday.
Since the recession, the state Treasury Department has reliably supplied cash infusions into the state’s tattered bank account during low-flow periods of tax collections. But Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said it would be irresponsible for the Treasury to loan more money while the state government lacks a balanced budget seven weeks into its fiscal year and unconstitutional for the state to spend it.
If you have unpaid PA Turnpike toll violations you are risking suspension of your vehicle registration. A new law (Act 165 of 2016) taking effect August 4th of 2017 allows the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to suspend the vehicle registration of any Pennsylvania motorist who has PA toll violations (including tolls and fees) totaling $500 or more or 6 or more separate instances of violation.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Health awarded permits Tuesday to 12 companies that applied to grow marijuana to help treat serious medical conditions.
The recipients, which have six months to begin operating, include PurePenn LLC in McKeesport and AGRiMED Industries of Pennsylvania LLC in Cumberland Township, Greene County.
“We’re pleased that (state officials) recognized PurePenn’s business sense and equally strong mission to bring the highest-quality products to patients,” said PurePenn CEO Gabe Perlow, a Pittsburgh attorney.
On Tuesday June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania’s Department of Health awarded permits to 12 companies, out of 177 total applicants, to grow medical marijuana in the state. Permittees have 6 months to begin operating. For a full list of permits issued click here. It is anticipated that the state will announce the 27 dispensary permits by the end of June.
In case you missed it, here is the Podcast from our two minute drive time segment that aired on Friday, February 12, 2016, on KQV 1410, “Déjà vu all over again: The 2016‑2017 budget is a repeat of last year,” by Nello Giorgetti.
Our next segment will air on Friday, February 26, 2016, at 8:12 a.m. and 5:12 p.m.
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If you have questions please contact Michelle Vezzani at MVezzani@cohenlaw.com or the public affairs professional with whom you work.
New legislation introduced in June and early July includes the following:
House Bill 2292 sponsored by Rep. Grove (R-York County) creates the Delinquent Tax Intercept Authority that would provide a one-stop clearing house for local governments and state government to place their outstanding and delinquent tax payments.
House Bill 2400 sponsored by Rep. Dunbar (R-Westmoreland County) would amend the Tax Reform Code by increasing the maximum amount a taxpayer may elect to expense for Section 179 assets to $100,000 per taxable year. Senate Bill 1418 sponsored by Sen. Hutchinson (R-Venango County) is companion legislation in the Senate.
House Bill 2401 sponsored by Rep. Grove (R-York County) would amend the Tax Reform Code by allowing small businesses to use the net operating loss deduction in state tax law. Senate Bill 1417 sponsored by Sen. Brubaker (R-Lancaster County) is companion legislation in the Senate.
House Bill 2402 sponsored by Rep. Bloom (R-Cumberland County) would amend the Tax Reform Code by allowing for in-kind exchanges in Pennsylvania that mirror Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 provisions that allow for tax-deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. Senate Bill 1416 sponsored by Sen. Folmer (R-Lebanon County) is companion legislation in the Senate.
Senate Bill 1421 sponsored by Sen. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery County) would permit the Department of Community and Economic Development to establish and administer a program to encourage employee stock ownership plans and other forms of employee ownership in existing and start-up businesses.
Senator Fontana (D-Allegheny County) will be introducing legislation that would amend current law to allow ridesharing services, such as those already offered by Lyft and Uber, to operate legally in Pennsylvania. Also, House Resolution 947 introduced by Rep. Molchany (DAllegheny County) urges the Public Utility Commission to investigate consumer transportation needs and approve experimental licenses for ridesharing services in the city of Pittsburgh.
If you have questions about the budget or any introduced legislation, please contact Michelle Vezzani at MVezzani@cohenlaw.com or the public affairs professional with whom you work. Cohen & Grigsby Public Affairs is a specialized practice group made up of public affairs professionals and attorneys who know how to navigate where government and business intersect. Members have served at all levels of local and state government and are from all sides of the political spectrum.