Worth Another Look: The Fiscal Code

by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

We inched a little closer to a completed 2017-2018 state budget with the House’s final passage of H.B. 674 (Prime Sponsor Withdrawn), an omnibus bill amending the state Fiscal Code. The bill, which basically serves as an instruction manual for the general appropriations bill, is now on the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Provisions to allow lottery winning interception where taxes, child support or court fines are delinquent, in arrears or overdue;
  • A requirement that ambulatory surgical centers submit annual financial data reports to the Health Care Cost Containment Council;
  • A $200 million transfer from the Joint Underwriting Association (JUA) to the General Fund by the end of 2017. If the transfer does not occur, the JUA will be abolished and the money will be transferred;
  • A transfer of $30.4 million from the Volkswagen settlement into the General Fund to be used for environmental purposes;
  • Provisions to allow distressed second class A cities to adjust their payroll tax to break even on business and mercantile taxes;
  • Transfers $20 million from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to the Marcellus Legacy Fund and $15 million into the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund;
  • Provisions to address when oil and gas wells are deemed to have ceased producing and the impact on an existing oil and gas lease;
  • A requirement that Philadelphia taxicabs pay the Philadelphia Parking Authority an assessment of 1% gross receipts from fares charged to passengers;
  • Distributes $15 million in Commonwealth Financing Authority funds and $10 million from the Building PA Program trust fund for water and sewer projects;
  • Distribution of Tobacco Settlement Fund payments for the 2017-2018 fiscal year;
  • Weekly transfers ($19.6 million total) from the PA Race Horse Development Fund to be deposited in the PA Race Horse Development Restricted Receipt Account and a transfer of $10 million to the State Racing Fund for the enforcement of medication rules and regulation;
  • A transfer of $2.5 million from the sale of liquor and alcohol to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs;
  • A requirement that the Workers’ Compensation Security Fund repay the $165 million transfer to the General Fund by July 1, 2019;
  • A transfer of $6 million from the Building PA Program trust fund to the Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Fund;
  • The establishment of the First Chance Trust Fund to fund scholarships and grants to programs that benefit youth in areas of high dropout or incarceration rates;
  • Includes a new definition of “market value” for purposes of calculating school subsidies;
  • A requirement that any slot machine license issued during this fiscal year must pay the fee in full within the year;
  • Imposition of reporting requirements on PlanCon debt service;
  • A $1.5 million earmark from the Department of Corrections to fund the nonnarcotic medication assisted substance abuse treatment grant pilot program;
  • An extension of surcharges and increase in filing fees to fund the courts; and
  • A provision to allow the Secretary of the Budget to instruct the Treasurer to transfer $300 million from restricted accounts and special funds to the General Fund.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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