Senator Judy Ward E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Employers Applaud Action to Expand Jobs in PA
  • Grants Available for Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors
  • Game Commission Seeks Help Counting Wild Turkeys
  • Application Period Open for Rail Freight Assistance Programs
  • Farmers Markets Mean Fresh, Regional Produce
  • Out and About in the 30th

Employers Applaud Action to Expand Jobs in PA

Job creators are taking note of the bipartisan action taken to attract new employment opportunities and residents to Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, business operators and others discussed the changes this week at a gathering in Lancaster.

One of the most significant steps they cited is the phase-down of the job-killing, corporate net income tax (CNIT). Under a provision of the new state budget, the rate will drop to 8.99% in 2023, and then continue to drop until it hits 4.99% in 2031. Once the reduction is fully implemented, Pennsylvania will go from imposing one of the nation’s highest CNIT rates to the eighth lowest in the country.

The consensus is that this will make Pennsylvania highly competitive among neighboring states in the northeast and others across the U.S.

Other changes made to the state’s tax code will be very helpful for mom-and-pop businesses. More than 99% of Pennsylvania businesses are small businesses, and those 1.1 million small businesses employ 2.5 million people, which is 46.3% of all Pennsylvania employees.

Under the new law, Pennsylvania will recognize “like-kind” exchanges for state tax deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. Federal tax law already allows for the tax deferral on federal taxes, providing some incentive for employers to invest in the job-creating assets businesses need to remain competitive, but Pennsylvania had been the only state not to recognize these exchanges for state tax purposes.

State tax law governing expense deductions is also being changed to bring it in line with federal law, eliminating the unequal treatment of Pennsylvania’s small businesses. The increase in limits will make it easier for employers to buy equipment and to invest, which promotes job growth.

Pennsylvanians need employment opportunities if they are to stay and raise families here. It’s exciting to hear job creators applauding the steps we’ve taken to increase the number of good-paying jobs that support healthy, thriving communities.

Grants Available for Very Small Meat and Poultry Processors

The application period for the Very Small Meat and Poultry Processor Reimbursement Grant Program is open and will run through Sept. 26. The assistance is aimed at increasing locally produced meat and poultry.

The funding can be used for the start-up costs associated with meeting federal inspection and certification guidelines for very small meat processors, defined as entities with sales of less than $2.5 million and fewer than 10 employees.

Applicants can submit their application through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Single Application for Assistance online application system at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us.

Game Commission Seeks Help Counting Wild Turkeys

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is again seeking input from the public in surveying wild turkeys this summer. The Pennsylvania Wild Turkey Sighting Survey is open through Aug. 31.

Participation is important for turkey population management. Survey data allow the agency to determine total wild turkey productivity and compare long-term reproductive success within Pennsylvania and across states, as this is a standard methodology used across the country. Data also are used in the turkey population model to track population trends.

Turkey sightings can be reported through the Game Commission’s website. The mobile app is no longer available.

Application Period Open for Rail Freight Assistance Programs

Pennsylvania ranks first in the country in the number of operating railroads, and state grants are available to support them through investment in rail freight infrastructure.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation operates the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and the Rail Freight Assistance Program. Both programs have become very competitive and not all applications will receive funding.

For eligible organizations wishing to apply for funding through either program, applications will be available on the application website until 4 p.m., Sept 2.

Farmers Markets Mean Fresh, Regional Produce

National Farmers Markets Week is a timely reminder that fresh, regional, summertime produce can be found at area farmers markets.

Many farmers markets are temporary, but there are several online guides to help you find a market near you.

Out and About in the 30th

I am always happy to attend Ag Progress days in State College. I ran into my friend, Joe Diamond, our Farm Bureau Regional Director, as well as Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding. It was also a pleasure to meet Penn State’s new President, Neeli Bendapudi. Pictured with President Bendapudi and me is Hog Farm owner/operator, Chris Hoffman. Chris is a resident of Juniata County, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and also serves on the Penn State Board of Trustees.

The Huntingdon County fair was a busy place this week! I met lots of royalty there including Huntingdon County Fair Queen, Evangeline McGargle, Dairy Princess, Shelly Bliss, and Fair Ambassador, Isabella Jones. I was proud to purchase Sarah Zimmerman’s Market Hog at the 4-H Livestock Auction and to meet her after all her hard work.

This week, I was the guest speaker for the Blair County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast. Cory Gehret of the Public Policy Committee asked me a series of legislative effort/recap questions. I was able to address each one and give the attendees a broad overview of the budget and legislative priorities/successes.

I was thrilled to be in Mercersburg, Franklin County, this week to celebrate the ribbon cutting of Blue Springs Egg Farm, a $140 million sustainable cage-free egg-laying facility operated by Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Inc., a Michigan-based, family-run company and the 11th largest egg producer in the United States. This impressive Herbruck’s facility will be Franklin County’s largest concentrated animal feeding operation, with 2.4 million hens annually producing one billion eggs. Once construction is completed and the facility is operating at full capacity, Herbruck’s anticipates employing nearly 200 people. The economic development impact of a project like this is enormous, from the creation of good-paying jobs to the generation of state and local tax revenue to the resulting increases in consumer spending. This project was truly a team effort involving federal, state, county, and township officials working successfully with the private sector. Today, we officially welcome Herbruck’s to the Mercersburg community and congratulate everyone involved in this exciting project!

Last evening, I enjoyed participating in Greencastle-Antrim’s “Old Home Week.” I joined with friends and fellow colleagues for their annual parade.

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