Governor Wolf Presents FY 2019/20 Budget Proposal

Governor Tom Wolf presented his proposed budget for FY 2019/20 on February 5th.  The proposal is set at $34.1 billion in spending, which is an increase of $927.36 million, or 2.79 percent over last year.  The Governor’s proposal also does not call for an across the board tax increase as in some of his previous proposals.  However, it does include a severance tax on natural gas, but with funds dedicated solely to infrastructure which is modified from the Governor’s previous budget plans. The Governor is also calling for an increase to the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $12 per hour starting in July — with additional increases coming each year until 2025, when it would reach $15 an hour.

The Governor’s budget was met with optimistic tones from the Republican-controlled Legislature, but the overall spend number along with the minimum wage and severance tax will likely be central to negotiations leading up to the June 30th deadline.  These details and other items such as those listed below be negotiated during the process including in Legislative Budget Hearings throughout February and March. Items of note include:

  • $200 million in Basic Education Funding, $50 million in Special Education Funding, $50 million for Pre-K Counts and Head Start, $8 million for Stay in PA, $10 million for PAsmart, and $7 million for PASSHE
  • $12 million to the Employer Skills Fund to develop innovative solutions to the skills gap
  • $5 million to PA First for job creation
  • $15 million for infants and toddlers on the waiting list into high-quality child care
  • $10 million to incentivize quality child care for infants and toddlers
  • $1.5 million for naloxone to continue to fight the opioid epidemic
  • Provides fair funding for local police coverage by the PA State Police through a sliding scale fee
  • Continues deposits into the Rainy Day Fund that are projected to reach more than $278 million

It remains to be seen how the smaller Republican majorities, some new leaders in three of the caucuses, and a Democrat Governor entering his second and final term, will affect the flow of the budget and nature of legislation in the new session.  Also, the Governor and Legislature often negotiate on other priorities both related and unrelated during the budget negotiations and we could likely see calls for further pension reform, reduction/elimination of property taxes, and the extension of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse to name a few. 

Legislative Activity

The following bills and co-sponsorship memos for bills to be introduced of interest to PSPE were acted on by the General Assembly this past month.

Bidding / Contracting

HB 373  RE: Project Labor Agreement Transparency Act (by Rep. Aaron Bernstine, et al)

Provides requirements for public notice and access requirements for public works projects labor agreements. A public body shall prominently post notice of a project labor agreement that is applicable to a public works project of the public body on its official website at least 20 days prior to the issuance of an invitation for bids or request for proposals for the public works project. The notice shall remain posted until the period to submit bids for the project has closed. A public body shall provide a copy of a project labor agreement to any person upon request at no cost to the person, except for reasonable fee for copies.

Introduced and referred to House Labor and Industry Committee, 2/5/2019

Budget Related Bills

SB 166 RE: Capital Budget Act of 2019-2020 (by Sen. Vincent Hughes, et al)

Provides for the capital budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020. Appropriates the following amounts: building and structures ($1,100,000,000); furniture and equipment ($20,000,000); transportation assistance projects ($350,000,000); redevelopment assistance projects (550,000,000); flood control projects ($0) Effective July 1, 2019, or immediately, whichever is later.

Introduced and referred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 2/19/2019

Environmental Building Standards

HB 414 RE: Erosion and Sediment Control Permit Act (by Rep. David Zimmerman, et al)

Provides for an erosion and sediment control permit, for compliance, for an annual report and for duties of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 2/6/2019

HB 534 RE: NPDES Permit Program (by Rep. David Zimmerman, et al)

Amends the Clean Streams Law, in other pollutions and potential pollution, further providing for potential pollution by adding that a construction site that results in land disturbance of more than one acre and less than five acres may apply to waive the otherwise applicable requirements for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in accordance with 40 CFR 122.26(b)(15)(i) (relating to storm water discharges (applicable to State NPDES programs, see 123.25).

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 2/19/2019

HB 550 RE: Watershed Storm Water Management Plan Exemption (by Rep. David Zimmerman, et al)

Amends the Storm Water Management Act, further providing for watershed storm water plans and contents. The bill establishes that a municipality that does not have a public water or sewer system shall be exempt from participating in the watershed storm water management plan.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 2/20/2019

Liability
NONE

Local/State Government/Regulations

HB 473 RE: Fees for Storm Water Management (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends the First Class Township Code adding language allowing the board of commissioners to assess fees for storm water management activities and facilities without the need to establish a municipal authority.

Introduced and referred to House Local Government Committee, 2/11/2019

HB 474 RE: Storm Water Management Plans (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends Titles 8 (Boroughs & Towns) & 11 (Cities), in storm sewers & watercourses, providing that a borough may enact and enforce ordinances to govern and regulate the planning, management, implementation, construction and maintenance of storm water facilities. Stipulates that for the purposes of funding the construction, maintenance and operation of storm water management facilities, systems and management plans authorized under this chapter, a borough may assess reasonable and uniform fees based in whole or in part on the characteristics of the property benefited by the facilities, systems and management plans. Adds a new chapter providing for storm water management plans and facilities by towns.

Introduced and referred to House Local Government Committee, 2/12/2019

Cosponsor memo filed

HCO1352 (Moul) – Groundwater Regulations Reform .Assigns the Department of Environmental Protection as the exclusive authority to regulate groundwater.

Filed, 2/27/2019

Local/Property Tax Reform

SB 76  RE: Property Tax Independence Act (by Sen. David Argall, et al)

Provides for tax levies and information related to taxes; authorizes the imposition of a personal income tax or an earned income tax by a school district subject to voter approval; provides for imposition of and exclusions from a sales and use tax for the stabilization of education funding, for increase to the personal income tax, for certain licenses, for hotel occupancy tax, for procedure and administration of the tax, for expiration of authority to issue certain debt and for reporting by local government units of debt outstanding; establishes the Education Stabilization Fund and the Education Cost Commission; provides for disbursements from the Education Stabilization Fund and for senior citizen property tax rent rebate assistance; and makes repeals. The bill provides for the elimination of school property taxes and authorizes school districts to levy, assess and collect a tax on personal income or a tax on earned income and net profits. The sales and use tax is replaced by the Sales and Use Tax for the Stabilization of Education Funding, which shall be seven percent.

Introduced and referred to Senate Finance Committee, 2/22/2019

Mandate Waivers
NONE

Mechanic’s Lien
NONE

Permitting
NONE

Professional Licensure

HB 422  RE: Certification of Inspectors (by Rep. Sheryl Delozier, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in training and certification of inspectors, further providing for training of inspectors and trainee classification. The department may by regulation establish a separate trainee classification for each certification category, which shall be considered optional for all individuals seeking certification.

Introduced and referred to House Labor and Industry Committee, 2/1/2019

HB 483  RE: Military Spouse License Portability Act (by Rep. Harry Readshaw, et al)

Provides that notwithstanding any other law, a licensing board shall issue a license to a military spouse to allow the military spouse to practice the military spouse’s profession or occupation in this commonwealth if, upon application to the licensing board, the military spouse satisfies certain delineated conditions.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 2/12/2019

School Construction

HB 472  RE: Referenda Prior to Contract (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends the Public School Code, in grounds and buildings, requiring approval by public referendum prior to the board of school directors of any school district of the second, third or fourth classes constructing, entering into a contract to construct or entering into a contract to lease a new school building or prior to the substantial addition to or renovation of an existing school building that would result in the school district borrowing more than the equivalent of 50 percent of the school district’s annual revenue of the prior school year.

Introduced and referred to House State Government Committee, 2/11/2019

Transportation
NONE

Worker’s Comp
NONE

Workforce Development

HB 425 RE: CareerBound Act (by Rep. Ryan McKenzie, et al)

Provides for school-to-work programs; establishing the CareerBound program; and imposing powers and duties on the Department of Labor and Industry. Funding and notice effective immediately, remainder of the act effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Introduced and referred to House Labor and Industry Committee, 2/20/2019

HB 559 RE: Apprentice Supervision (by Rep. Barbara Gleim, et al)

Amends the Apprenticeship and Training Act, further providing for powers and duties; providing for supervision; and abrogating a regulation. The bill establishes that the council adopting rules and regulations may not require more than one supervisor for each apprentice of trainee.

Introduced and referred to House Labor and Industry Committee, 2/20/2019

HB 576 RE: Industry Partnerships (by Rep. Ryan Bizzaro, et al)

Amends the Workforce Development Act, in industry partnerships, further providing for definitions, for industry clusters, for grant program, for grant program operation, for interdepartmental cooperation and for industry and labor market research. The bill establishes that in order to receive grant funding, an industry partner must, in its grant application, if feasible, show evidence of participation of career and technical educators in industry partners.

Introduced and referred to House Labor and Industry Committee, 2/28/2019

HR 86 RE: STEM Education (by Rep. Greg Rothman, et al)

A Resolution recognizing the immense value of robotics and STEM education; and applauding the efforts of Cumberland County’s FIRST Tech Challenge team, The Javengers, for their outreach to the underserved community to advance interest in robotics and STEM education.

Introduced as noncontroversial resolution, 2/19/2019
Adopted, 2/20/2019 (176-0)

SB 318 RE: Prevailing Wage Threshold (by Sen. Gene Yaw, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act further providing for definitions by raising the cost threshold for a “public work” from $25,000 to $185,000.

Introduced and referred to Senate Labor and Industry Committee, 2/22/2019

Copies of all bills of interest can be accessed via the Internet at: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm

Upcoming meetings of Interest

Some House Committee meetings and session can be viewed online at: http://www.pahousegop.com/
Senate Committee meetings and session can be streamed at: http://www.pasenategop.com/

2019 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

March                   18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
April                      8, 9, 10, 29, 30
May                       1, 6, 7, 8
June                       3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

2019 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE
March                  11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
April                      8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 29, 30
May                      1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23
June                      3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28  

State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists Meeting Schedule 

2019 Meeting Dates (Subject to change): March 13, May 8, July 10, September 11, November 13

PUBLIC WELCOME 

All Board meetings are held at Penn Center, 2601 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA, at 9:30 a.m.

Other meeting dates may be scheduled as needed.