A Conversation with Senator Brubaker
Senate Finance Committee Addresses Tax Appeals Process, Industry Partnerships
The Senate Finance Committee recently passed two bills I sponsored to encourage participation in one of the state's most important workforce development programs and reform the state's inefficient tax appeals process. Both of these measures would improve the business climate in the state to help attract and retain more quality jobs.
It is extremely important to ensure workers have the necessary skills to advance in their careers and keep Pennsylvania on the cutting edge of the global economy. The Industry Partnerships program brings together a cluster of businesses and organizations within a single industry to identify and address common workforce needs. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, more than 118,000 workers have received training through the program since its creation in 2005. The program has been tremendously successful in helping businesses grow and giving employees more opportunities to add vital skills and earn higher salaries.
My legislation, Senate Bill 1460, would support additional investments in this program by creating a tax credit program for participating businesses. The bill would permit businesses to claim a tax credit of up to 75 percent of their contribution to Industry Partnerships, excluding contributions that are made to satisfy requirements for matching grants from the state.
With state tax dollars stretched thin due to this year's budget deficit, additional private investments would ensure more workers receive the training they need to keep pace with the growing demands of the global economy. Businesses and employees who have participated in Industry Partnerships have expressed unyielding support for this program, and the tax credit proposal has garnered support from a variety of business and community groups, including the Pennsylvania Business Council, the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania and the United Way of Pennsylvania. I am confident that adding a tax credit for participating businesses would offer an even stronger incentive for job-creators to invest in their workforce.
Since a state's tax structure is one of the most important factors that businesses consider when deciding to expand or relocate, minimizing tax issues for businesses is another important way to promote job growth. Several weeks ago, I outlined some of the serious problems with Pennsylvania's costly and inefficient tax appeals process, which ranks among the nation's worst systems. The Finance Committee approved legislation I introduced to correct the most troublesome issues with this process.
Senate Bill 1490 would amend the Tax Reform Code to offer additional time for taxpayers to file certain reports, including changes in taxable income. The bill would improve the fairness of the process by giving taxpayers an opportunity to obtain a correction to a tax adjustment that would otherwise increase taxes owed in a subsequent year. My legislation also authorizes the Department of Revenue to accept a compromise of tax liability in civil tax cases, allowing individuals and businesses to negotiate a fair settlement to avoid the costly and time-consuming appeals process.
The current tax appeals process is slow, inefficient and unfair to taxpayers. My legislation would help simplify and streamline this process to not only promote economic development in our communities, but also create greater fairness and efficiency for individual taxpayers and businesses.