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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 17, 2020 03:47 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pennsylvania Coronavirus Relief Package
I plan to introduce a number of bills which are part of a Pennsylvania Coronavirus Relief Package.  I have previously introduced a bill establishing a Commission to study the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19 and develop plans for future pandemics, which is a part of this package.

I invite you to please join me in sponsoring some or all of these initiatives.

Document #1

Introduced as SB1248

Description: CFA Redistribution

I plan to introduce legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Investment in Economic Stimulus (PIES) Act.  Specifically, this legislation would use the remaining funds from 2019-20 and all funds required to be deposited in 2020-21 in the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) and disperse to taxpayers of Pennsylvania as a state-stimulus plan through the Fiscal Year 2020/2021.

Providing a one-time stimulus check at the right time will help our small businesses and our taxpayers restart our economy.

Document #2

Introduced as SB1162

Description: Unemployment Compensation Business Relief Charges

I plan to introduce legislation to provide further economic relief for businesses in the Commonwealth as well as those employees impacted in the long-term due to the pandemic.

Specifically, the bill will expand and extend the unemployment compensation charges that businesses have been exempted from paying for laid-off or furloughed employees due to the business shutdowns.  The extension of this grace period would last from the time of the emergency order through December 30, 2020.  This will allow businesses, particularly those in hospitality and restaurant service, to have some employees return while others would be able to still collect unemployment compensation without any penalty on the business for this.

The fact is, we do not know how well many of our bars, clubs and restaurants will fare, or how well they will do once they can reopen.  Many regular customers and patrons may not return or venture out as often in the months after the stay-at-home orders.  Businesses such as these are going to need flexibility and assistance, and this is one way the state can help them to recover, make better financial decisions to ensure their survival in the long run, and still maintain unemployment benefits for those that need it.

Document #3

Description: Coronavirus Related Manufacturing, Production and Development Tax Credit

I plan to introduce legislation to create a COVID-19 production and development tax credit for up to $50 million.  Specifically, this tax credit would be used for Pennsylvania facilities and institutions in combating COVID-19 and the coronavirus. 

Any mass production of personal protective equipment, such as masks, shields, gowns, gloves, etc would be eligible.  Additionally, the development and production of COVID-19 testing agents and products would also be eligible for the credits.  Lastly, any research, development and production of vaccinations for COVID-19 and coronavirus would also be eligible for the tax credit.

As a state, we have many responsibilities for the health and welfare of our citizens.  To be prepared for a potential return of this virus later in the year, and to help spur further development of a vaccination, this tax credit offers financial incentive for Pennsylvania companies and facilities to help us in combating this virus.

Document #4

Description: Research Grant for Epidemiology and Virology

I plan to introduce legislation which would create a grant of $25 million for Pennsylvania based research facilities within any colleges or universities or partnered with a college or university in the Commonwealth.
Specifically, this grant money would be available for approved research in epidemiology or virology in combating coronavirus.
To wholly fight back on recurrences of this virus and its strands such as COVID-19, we need to provide more financial help to our state’s research institutions specifically to learn more about this virus, and to be prepared to fight it off and eradicate it through vaccinations.  Some of our state’s universities are the best in the world in this field, and the state should help to provide additional funding to them to eradicate this disease, for the state, the country and the world population.

Document #5

Description: Business Interruption Insurance

There have been many businesses across the Commonwealth impacted by the pandemic, and many businesses that had business-interruption insurance policies that cannot collect due to claims made on losses because of virus.  There have been several legislative proposals in how to find relief or mandate payments by insurers, however my approach would slightly differ.

This bill would require the Insurance Commissioner to establish a review task-force, to determine the number of businesses that filed a business-interruption claim, how many were denied due to a viral pandemic, and what the total amount of claims would be paid out if they had been approved.

Each business under this criteria would also have to disclose if they applied for and received any other federal or state grants or loans as well as how much they received from these programs, and then would receive a percentage of the business-interruption claim that would be further reduced by funds received from other grant and assistance programs.

Document #6

Introduced as SB1249

Description: Restaurant and Lodging Sales Tax Amnesty
I plan to introduce legislation which would provide for a six-month period of sales tax amnesty for restaurants, bars and hotels.  While many businesses have been hard hit by the stay-at-home orders, some more than others will struggle more due to the commodity or service provided.
Our restaurants and hotels will continue to see the impacts of a reserved general public, and in an effort to provide incentive, this bill would grant a sales tax amnesty from the time the emergency order is lifted and commence for six months.  This would mean that patrons to restaurants as well as those staying in hotels or lodgings would not be required to pay any sales taxes for these services.

Document #7

Introduced as SB1150

Description: Personal Income Tax (PIT) Holiday

I plan to introduce legislation which would provide employers with a state PIT holiday.  Specifically, employers would be able to postpone remittance of state employee PIT withholdings for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2020/2021.  Over the period of the next three quarters of the fiscal year, those first quarter withholdings would be remitted to the department of revenue.

This small change may help businesses with some additional cash flow in order to pay for or other costs that may require extra capital, while still being able to keep their business going in the aftermath of any shutdown and keep people employed.

Document #8

Description: Johnstown Flood Tax Redistribution

I plan to offer legislation to redistribute proceeds from the Johnstown Flood Tax on alcohol.

First enacted by the legislature in 1937 after a devastating flood, this 18% excise tax on alcoholic spirits brings in annual revenues over $200 million to the general fund.  While still a tax on the books bearing the name of a response to a natural disaster, we need to re-purpose this money to fight this current disaster and pay for recovery programs, tax incentives and research to fight the coronavirus.

Document #9

Description: Childcare Grants
I plan to legislation to establish a grant of $100 million for daycare services and centers in the Commonwealth. 
As we begin to resume normal, societal functions by returning to work and visiting friends and loved ones, child care can and will be an issue for many Pennsylvanians.  Due to the schools being closed for the remainder of the year, many parents and families will have to find alternative plans well ahead of the summer schedule.
Under this bill, any licensed daycare facility or child care summer camp/center would be eligible to apply for grant money from the state.  Funds awarded from the grants can be used for operational and financial purposes of the facility, however at least 50% must be applied toward costs of child care service, i.e. tuition.
This one-time grant will be able to help these centers that may be having financial difficulty in re-opening and can also help parents with the unexpected costs likely to be incurred with finding child care as they return to work.