June 30, 2014

The Other Shoe Is Dropping-- The Fiscal Code Bill Makes Major Changes

The Senate Appropriations Committee late Monday made 66 pages of additions to House Bill 278 (Baker-R-Tioga), the Fiscal Code bill that follows to implement provisions in the General Fund budget.  But this year, the bill includes creation of new programs, some which have never passed either the Senate or House, provides for transfers from special funds and makes other changes.  
The Senate is expected to take final action on the Fiscal Code bill Tuesday which must then return to the House for a concurrence vote.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the major provisions--
Major Programs Included--
— Requires DEP to use funds to promulgate separate conventional and unconventional oil and gas regulations-- Senate Bill 1378 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson), House Bill 2350 (Causer-R-Cameron) were never considered by the full Senate, House)
— Creating new Rural Regional College-- Senate Bill 1000 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) which passed the Senate, House Bill 1701 (Causer-R-Cameron) which did not pass the House.
— Reduction in Small Games of Chance license fee from $2,000 to $500
— Education funding distribution to local school districts
— Escheats: Reduce years, Treasury Enforcement, Bankers modernization
— $10 increase in Judicial surcharge
— City Revitalization and Improvement Zone Update: 3 Zones and 1 pilot in 2014, 2 Zones and 1 pilot in 2015
Transfer of Funds--
— Suspend transfer to Rainy Day Fund
— Transfers $17.6 million from the Horse Racing Fund
— Transfers $225,000,000 of tobacco venture assets to PSERS
— Transfers $8,000,000 in excess law enforcement grants from Gaming Board to General Fund
— Transfers $5,676,000 from Gaming Capital money to General Fund for Pittsburgh Penguins
— Transfer $20 million from State Forest Timber leases
— Transfers $95 million from DCNR Oil and Gas Fund for additional “non-impact” gas leasing
— Transfers $8,672,845 from the Alternative Energy Investment Act
Other Changes--
— Establish H20 account to hold gaming money and Act 13
— Distributed tobacco payment to program
— Civil Service reforms authorize operational contracts
— Appropriates funds from DGS to caucus operations
— Includes caucus earmarks of funds
  Click Here for the most recent version of House Bill 278.