Dec. 16, 2022

The 2021-22 Legislative Session in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives came to a close on Nov. 30. This presents me with an opportunity to highlight some noteworthy accomplishments over the last two years. 

We passed responsible budgets that stand up for taxpayers by keeping spending in check and planning for future economic downturns while also making important investments in core government services.

The 2022-23 budget saves for the future to prevent unnecessary tax and fee hikes by carrying over $3.6 billion for future budgets and directing $2.1 billion to the Rainy Day Fund, bringing that account’s balance to a historic level of $5 billion. The budget also pays back more than $2 billion worth of debt.

We provided relief for Pennsylvania’s job creators, both large and small, to encourage economic growth. Over the next decade, the Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT), which is currently the second highest in the nation, will be gradually reduced, making the Keystone State more attractive to companies seeking to relocate or continue to grow in our state. We approved expense deductions of up to $1.08 million (matching the federal threshold) for business owners to encourage equipment purchases and expansion. It had previously been limited to only $25,000. They can also defer tax liabilities on gains from similar property exchanges, as allowed in every other state. 

Ensuring Pennsylvania students receive a quality education is a priority and we allocated historic levels of funding toward that goal. The 2021-22 budget made a $13.55 billion investment in our schools, which was more than $50 million higher than the previous year. The 2022-23 budget includes $17 billion for education, which is the most funding ever. However, an effort to provide more transparency in the educational process was scuttled by Gov. Tom Wolf when he vetoed a bill that would have required public schools to post the curriculum used in their classrooms online. 

Another of our top priorities is public safety, as we strive to maintain communities that are nurturing environments in which to raise a family. We enacted legislation that increases penalties for crimes against children, supports crime victims, and strengthens consumer protection standards. We also included adequate funding in the budget for police and prosecutors to create a wider safety net for our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and employers. 

Finally, a law I authored a few years ago that requires employers in the construction industry to use the federal E-Verify system was made even stronger. When companies use E-Verify, it ensures their new hires do not include individuals not authorized to work in the United States. 

Act 141 of 2022 makes the financial penalties for violating the law more meaningful by increasing the fines to between $2,500 and $25,000. The previous penalties ranged from $250 to $1,000. The new law also streamlines enforcement and reduces the need for time-consuming audits by requiring construction contractors to be enrolled in E-Verify and makes it a punishable offense if they are not.

The just-completed session was a busy one and I look forward to getting to work in the next session, which begins Jan. 3 with Swearing-In Day. I remain focused on creating jobs, protecting taxpayers, strengthening education, and reforming government.

Representative Ryan Mackenzie
187th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Andy Briggs
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