Overall it was a very good year for PFMA and our members. Thank you for all your help and support. It is greatly appreciated.
SUCCESSFULLY BLOCKED (as of January 5, 2016):
County Optional Individual and Business Employee Fee for 911 Services:Prevented the inclusion of a $52 individual fee and up to $12 per employee fee for 911 service operations. This fee was an option counties could have passed in addition to the per-device fee already in place for 911 services and operations.
Minimum Wage Increases:Prevented the passage of various bills on the state and federal levels which would increase the state minimum wage from the $7.25 per hour to anywhere from $9 to $15 per hour. Some of these bills would have included automatic increases to the minimum wage tied to inflation/Consumer Price Index.
E-Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product (OTP) Taxes in Philadelphia: Helped block a plan to impose a $2.00 tax on e-cigarettes, vapor and OTP in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Pharmacy/Health Services Tobacco Sales Restriction Ordinance:Helped block a bill that would have restricted tobacco sales at any retail location in Philadelphia that sold pharmaceuticals or provided health services.
Allegheny County Health Department Restaurant Grading Proposal:Helped to block a plan by the Allegheny County Health Department to implement a restaurant grading plan. The plan was defeated in a vote by Allegheny County Council.
GMO Labeling:Stopped passage of SB 653 and HB 1170, which sought to require labeling of all products with genetically modified ingredients.
State Medicaid False Claims Act:Helped prevent the passage of a state false claims act for Medicaid which was being pushed for inclusion in the State Budget Fiscal Code.
Enactment of Pittsburgh Paid Leave Ordinance:Opposed this legislation and worked with our allies to support a lawsuit which prevented the implementation of the Pittsburgh City Council Paid Leave Ordinance.
State Sales Tax Rate and Expansion:PFMA successfully blocked efforts in 2015 to raise the sales and use tax and expand the base of products to which it can be applied.
Vendors Sales Tax Allowance:PFMA successfully blocked efforts to eliminate or cap the Vendor’s Sales Tax Allowance.
Cigarettes, E-cigarettes and OTP:PFMA helped to stop the enactment of new taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes and OTP.
SUCCESSFULLY PASSED (as of January 5, 2016):
Pharmacist and Pharmacy Intern Influenza Immunizations:Helped secure final passage of HB 182 which allows pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer the influenza immunization to children ages nine and up with parental consent.
Nonresident Pharmacies Registration:Helped secure final passage of HB 75, which amends the Pharmacy Act adding a new section requiring pharmacies located outside of Pennsylvania to register with the State Board of Pharmacy if they fill prescription orders for residents of the Commonwealth. It also requires the pharmacies to have a valid license in their home state and provide a copy of their most recent inspection report.
Menu Labeling Rule Delay:PFMA was successful in helping to delay the FDA/ACA menu labeling rule implementation date from December 1, 2015 to one year after passage of final guidance. This delay will allow PFMA and our national partners to continue to push for a federal legislative solution to this issue.
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015:PFMA worked with our state and national partners to help secure passage of the tax extenders found in this bill. Some of the highlights are below:
Permanently extends the expensing limitation and phase-out amounts at the 2010-2014 levels ($500,000 and $2 million, respectively). Rules allowing for expensing for computer software and qualified real property are also permanently extended.
Extends bonus depreciation through 2019. The percentage is 50% for property placed in service in 2015, 2016, and 2017, 40% in 2018, and 30% in 2019.
Permanently extends the provision for contributions of inventory of wholesome food for non-corporate business taxpayers.
Permanently extends the 15-year recovery period for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant property and qualified retail improvement property.
Extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for five years through 2019.
Extends the New Markets Tax Credit for five years through 2019 and allocates $3.5 billion of credits for each of those five years.
Passage of Omnibus Spending Bill on the Federal Level:PFMA again worked with its state and national partners to help pass this legislation. Below are some of the highlights:
Repeal of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for muscle cuts of beef and pork.
Delay of the ACA Cadillac tax, an ACA tax on high-cost healthcare plans created to help pay for ACA subsidies.
A one year delay of the menu labeling rule to either one year after the publication of level one guidance from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, or December 2016, whichever is later.
The Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA), which would direct the federal government to develop procedures to promote the timely sharing of classified cyber threat indicators and defensive measures with private and federal entities.
PROGRESS MADE ON PRIORITY ISSUES (as of January 5, 2016):
Cigarette Minimum Presumptive Pricing:PFMA and its allies helped advance cigarette minimum pricing in the form of SB 691 and HB 1327. We were successful in moving SB 691 through the Senate and onto final consideration. HB 1327 was used as the fiscal code vehicle for the state budget and amended to include the language for an increase in the state minimum presumptive price. These were major developments and represented major progress on this priority issue.
Paid Leave Preemption:PFMA and its allies helped advance paid leave preemption in the form of SB 333. The bill would prohibit local municipalities from passing paid and unpaid leave ordinances. The legislation successfully passed the Senate with a wide bi-partisan vote and now awaits further action in the House.
Alcohol Retail and Wholesale Reform:Legislation allowing new privileges for many PFMA members successfully passed the House and Senate and was ultimately vetoed by the Governor. This is the first time that legislation privatizing the wholesale and retail operations of the PLCB passed both chambers of the legislature. A number of the reform proposals would have allowed PFMA members to sell beer and wine and would have allowed the creation of a new permit/license for certain retailers. PFMA supported many of these ideas and pushed for inclusion of all members in the legislation, and will continue to push for a more open and fair system of alcohol sales and distribution in 2016.
Voluntary GMO Labeling:PFMA and its national partners helped advance a federal voluntary GMO labeling solution in the form of H.R. 1599, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. This legislation passed the U.S. House by a large margin and awaits further action in the U.S. Senate.
Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015:PFMA and its national partners helped advance H.R. 2017 which would help provide a permanent legislative solution to the menu labeling issue. This bill passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is awaiting further action by the full House.