I was very pleased to see many of my pieces of legislation incorporated into the 2016-17 budget Tax Code bill. These accomplishments will have a direct economic impact that will positively benefit the 42nd Senatorial District.
Film Production Tax Credit
During the 2015-16 session, I introduced Senate Bill 218 (SB 218) that would increase the Film Production Tax Credit from $60 million to $125 million. Especially since 38 states offer some type of film tax credit program, this would help Pennsylvania remain competitive and continue to attract this industry to our state. The film tax credit has been stuck at the $60 million amount since the 2010-11 budget cycle and I have persistently advocated for an increase. I was very pleased that I was influential in making the maximum available tax credits available for this upcoming fiscal year to $65 million!
The state’s film tax credit program is an economic gift that continues to give. This incentive has attracted film and television projects throughout the commonwealth and has pumped over $2 billion directly into Pennsylvania’s economy since the program’s inception. It has been estimated that each dollar invested in the film tax credit program generates approximately seven times that amount in economic impact. The tax credit program is also credited with creating 19,000 jobs and sustaining thousands more. While the program’s expansion in this year’s tax code doesn’t go as far as I would prefer, this boost acknowledges the success of the program and will hopefully spark greater legislative interest in expanding the program even more.
Additionally, I introduced Senate Bill 219 (SB 219) that would allow for the recapture of approved unused Film Production Tax Credits from the previous year. Currently, the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is not authorized to access unused approved film tax credits and award them to another production unless the credits are from the same fiscal year. My proposal being incorporated into the budget bills for this upcoming fiscal year will provide flexibility so that unused credits could be awarded to new productions the following year.
Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program (NAP)
The Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program (NAP) encourages businesses to invest in projects which improve distressed areas. Examples of projects include community services, crime prevention and job training. The Charitable Food Program also falls under NAP which is designed to help regional food banks.
Under this year’s tax code, the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program is expanded to include projects that aid veterans’ housing, victims of domestic violence or affordable housing.
My Senate Bill 243 (SB 243) would increase the allocation for NAP from the current $18 million to $25 million. Although this important program will not see an increased allocation, I am pleased to have played a part in making sure that even more people will be positively impacted by this valuable tax credit program.
Research and Development Tax Credit (R&D)
In 1997, the Pennsylvania General Assembly created the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit to promote competition among businesses to expand research and create jobs. Specifically, the credit is available to businesses and individuals that are doing qualified research in the commonwealth, particularly in technological or scientific nature. The tax credit may be claimed against the capital stock and franchise tax, corporate net income tax and personal income tax. This program is currently capped annually at $55 million, of which $11 million is set aside for small businesses. More than 2,000 companies have been awarded with these tax credits since the program began.
Act 85 of 2012 was passed to make permanent the R&D Tax Credit, or so most people thought. However, an expiration date was left in place and the credit actually ended at the close of 2015.
More recently, the federal government voted to make permanent their version of the R&D Tax Credit, ending the more than 25 year old temporary provision. Believing Pennsylvania should also continue to allow the issuance of future R&D Tax Credits, I introduced Senate Bill 1278 (SB 1278) that would reauthorize the program as well as make it permanent.
Once again, I am very excited to announce that my R&D legislation has become a part of this year’s budget bills. By doing away with any sunset provisions, businesses can come to the commonwealth with the certainty that the tax credit will be available and encourage long-term investments.
Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit
I was pleased to see a newly established Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit. This program will make waste coal electric generation facilities that use coal refuse as its fuel eligible for a tax credit of $4 per ton of used coal refuse. Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2016-17, $7.5 million in credits will be available in each fiscal year. The amount will be increased to $10 million in FY 2017-18.
Coal mining management practices used in the past have left coal refuse from abandoned mines in our water and on our land and also resulted in air pollution. Cleaning up these sites remains an overwhelming task and often an underfunded one. The coal refuse to alternative energy industry is helping Pennsylvania to address this issue at no costs to taxpayers by converting coal refuse from both past and current mining activities to produce electricity for residents and businesses across the state. However, power plants that use coal waste face serious economic challenges due to the volatile and depressed energy markets. In addition to the high maintenance costs caused by the nature of the waste fuel it uses. This tax credit program will help ensure that cleanup continues while not punishing those who want to do the right thing for our environment and for future generations.
Did You Know…
Did you know the Neighborhood Assistance Program was first created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1967 through the Neighborhood Assistance Act and quickly became a national model?
12th Annual FontanaFest
I want to remind everyone that the 12th Annual FontanaFest is scheduled for Saturday, September 24 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Once again, parking will be free in the stadium’s West Lot, compliments of Forest City!
The annual community event is perfect for families and children, promoting healthy and active lifestyles by providing many fun activities and crafts. Children will also have the chance to play on several inflatables, an obstacle course, and a climbing wall. All Attendees also are provided with the opportunity to engage with several organizations from around the region and receive important information on available services and programs, nutrition, health care, jobs and jobs training. I’m also thrilled that once again this year, students from Pittsburgh Musical Theatre will join us to perform at 11:15 a.m.!
Stay tuned throughout the summer for updates on the schedule of events, participants, and more.
Total Gaming Revenue Increases
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced recently that over $3.23 billion of gross revenue was generated during the recently completed 2015/2016 State Fiscal Year from the combined play of slot machines and table games. This figure represents more than a 3.6 percent increase over the previous Fiscal Year. Total combined revenue from casino gaming during this past Fiscal Year was $3,227,835,876 compared to revenue of $3,115,525,984 during Fiscal Year 2014/15, an increase of 3.6 percent. Estimated combined tax revenue from slot machines and table games for the 2015/16 Fiscal Year was $1,395,818,865.
Over $68.4 million in table games revenue was generated during June 2016, a 2.15 percent increase compared to June 2015. That revenue boosted total table games revenue during the 2015/2016 Fiscal Year to almost $840 million, a 7.6 percent increase over the 2014/2015 Fiscal Year.
The state’s gaming industry employs over 17,000 people and generates approximately $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue from both slot machines and table games. For more information on gaming in Pennsylvania and to read reports from the Gaming Control Board, please visit them online at www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.
PennDOT Hiring Winter Maintenance Positions
The PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is hiring for winter maintenance positions around the commonwealth. Some of the positions available include CDL equipment operators and diesel mechanics, among others. Anyone interested in applying can visit http://employment.pa.gov/SitePages/Home.aspx, Pennsylvania’s employment page to complete an application.
Fresh Paint Days in Pennsylvania – Grant Applications Due This Sunday
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is accepting applications for their Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania program. The annual program, held in partnership with Behr and The Home Depot, is designed to provide community groups with paint and painting supplies to enable them to renew a community structure in need of some attention.
Applications are available by clicking here or visiting http://illegaldumpfreepa.org/keep-it/ and are due no later than this Sunday, July 31. All applications will be evaluated by a review committee with grants awarded in August. Projects must be completed during Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania, September 1 – 30.
Below are a list of grant criteria and more information about the program.
- Available to any tax-exempt group in Pennsylvania. Private property owners or individual applicants cannot apply.
- Each application is eligible for up to 20 gallons of exterior paint provided by Behr and a $50 Home Depot gift card for painting supplies.
- Only one building per application is allowed. Applicants can submit multiple applications.
- Once receiving award notification, applicants must provide proof of liability insurance and signed permission to paint from the property owner.
- Required to submit two “before” photos of the intended project.
- Applicants must adhere to a 20 gallon limit of exterior paint, chosen from the Behr line.
For more information about the grant program please contact Michelle Dunn at 1-877-772-3673, ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Civic Leadership Academy
The City of Pittsburgh is again hosting its Civic Leadership Academy this fall. The free, 10-week course runs each Wednesday beginning September 14 through November 16 from 6 – 8:30 p.m. The Civic Leadership Academy gives City of Pittsburgh residents the opportunity to educate themselves about City government and was created to foster informed, effective and inspired community leadership. The program includes tours, hands-on demonstrations, and other fun activities to give participants an insider view of how the City of Pittsburgh operates.
For more information on the program, including a course schedule, frequently asked questions and for an application, please click here or visit http://pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh/cla. Applications are due by August 5. More details can also be obtained by contacting Sally Stadelman, the Civic Leadership Academy coordinator, by calling 412-255-4773 or emailing email@example.com.
National Night Out
Next Tuesday, August 2 is National Night Out across the country. This event, which began in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch, is held on a selected night each year to raise crime and drug prevention awareness and generate support for local anti-crime programs while strengthening partnerships between communities and local law enforcement.
Last year more than 50 events were held in neighborhoods throughout the City of Pittsburgh. To find an event in your neighborhood, please visit the city's Department of Public Safety website.
Three Rivers Regatta
The EQT Three Rivers Regatta is scheduled for the weekend of August 5-7 at Point State Park. In its 39th year, the Regatta celebrates Pittsburgh’s rivers and as a non-profit, was “organized for the purpose of developing and maintaining programs and projects devoted to water safety, recreation and enhancing public usage of the rivers and waterways of Western Pennsylvania, including, but not limited to, the three rivers of the City of Pittsburgh.”
As part of the weekend’s festivities, the ALCOSAN Three Rivers Proud Boat Parade is scheduled for Friday, August 5 at 9:30 p.m. and the popular PITTOHIO Anything That Floats Race is scheduled for Saturday, August 6 at 3 p.m.
For a complete listing of scheduled events, entertainment, sponsors, and a map, please visit http://yougottaregatta.com.
In addition to being one of our country’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin also had the unique role of running our nation’s independent postal system. On this date in 1775, what is known today as the United States Postal Service was born when Congress named Franklin as the country’s first Postmaster General. In 1776, Franklin served on the committee that created the Declaration of Independence and officially gave up his Postmaster General duties on November 7, 1776.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Northside (Mobile Office)
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Lawrenceville (Mobile Office)
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Thursdays - 11 am - 4 pm