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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2020 12:53 PM
From: Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Providing for Substantial Grants to Act 47 Municipalities
I plan to re-introduce my legislation, Senate Bill 570, from the 2019-2020 legislative session.  This legislation will increase the amount of available grants to distressed municipalities under Act 47 through an existing funding source.
On June 9 of 1936, the General Assembly and the Governor enacted Act 4 which levied a tax on alcoholic beverages to aid the City of Johnstown which had just suffered the St. Patrick’s Day Flood of 1936.  This tax, originally a temporary levy of 10%, became known as the “Johnstown Flood Tax.”
As we have come to know, temporary taxes are rarely temporary.  The 10% tax was increased to 15% in 1963, and again to 18% in 1968.  The Johnstown Flood Tax still exists today; however, it is not dedicated to assist distressed municipalities but rather goes into the General Fund.  Currently, the Department Community Economic Development awards grants and loans to Act 47 municipalities, but this year’s budget allocated just under $2 million to those programs.
Under my legislation, 1/18, or roughly 5.6%, of the Johnstown Flood Tax will be dedicated to help distressed municipalities under Act 47.  According to the Department of Revenue, it would be about $20.6 million using 2017-2018 revenue numbers.  The revenue collected for this program will be collected by the Treasury and will be dedicated to the Commonwealth Financing Authority to award grants to municipalities under Act 47. 
Previous co-sponsors to this legislation were:  Browne, Martin, Aument, Mensch, Brewster, Baker, Schwank, Costa, Bartolotta, K. Ward and J. Ward.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation to restore the original intent of the Johnstown Flood Tax which is to assist a distressed municipality.

Introduced as SB154