Wolf Administration issued a set of FAQs describing what happens when the new fiscal year is delayed. http://www.pa.gov/Pages/budgetFAQs.aspx#.VaeUD7XcBjw21. It focuses on what state payments may still be made and what is suspended until a new budget takes effect.
PDA issued the following on Crop Insurance. Details: www.cropinsurancepa.com, 717/787-6901
- Enrollment for the Dairy Margin Protection Program began July 1 and ends September 30.
The program was established as part of the Farm Bill.
- PDA will conduct an Early Riser on Crop Insurance August 19 at AG Progress Days.
- The 15th Annual PA Crop Insurance Conference will be held in Harrisburg August 27.
July 13: Expanded surveillance will be taking place in Montgomery and Lehigh Counties for the invasive Spotted Lanternfly, a threat to the state’s grape, fruit tree and hardwoods industries.
July 11: Brucellosis testing requirements for cattle, goats and buffalo are being rescinded.
Published in the May 9 PA Bulletin was a proposed Rule by the PA Utility Commission (PUC) to limit the energy output from farmers and others using alternative energy generation facilities which go into the grid. Details: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol45/45-19/858.html
- The House Local Government Committee reported out House Bill 859 (Staats-R-Bucks) excluding from tax a transfer of a perpetual agricultural conservation easement as defined by the Agricultural Area Security Law.
- The Senate Finance Committee reported Senate Bill 556 (McIlhinney-R-Bucks) which excludes from the Real Estate Transfer Tax a conservation easement in perpetuity having as its purpose preservation of open or agricultural land to the S., Commonwealth of PA, or to a 501( c)(3) organization which has as its purpose land preservation.
House Bill 806 (Causer-R-McKean) was reported out by the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee May 5. This bill protects those enrolled in Clean and Green from higher property taxes in counties where county-wide reassessment has not taken place.
The PA Revenue Department May 4 announced that collections in April exceeded expectations by $201 million. This brings year-to-date revenues to $569.1 million above estimate. This extra revenue was seen in Corporate Net Income Tax, Personal Property Tax, and Sales & Use Tax. Two areas where revenues came in lower than anticipated were Real Estate Transfer Tax and cigarette/table games/liquor taxes. This $569.1 million surplus may impact Budget negotiations between the Governor and General Assembly.
- Senate Bill 720 sponsored by Aument (R-Lancaster) has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It would provide protection from civil liability for owners and operators of agritainment activities. Agritainment is defined as “tourism-related, recreational or educational activities located on farms in Pennsylvania such as corn mazes, pick-your-own crop harvests, hay rides and farm vacations.” Because many activities involved in the agritainment business are frequently not covered by customary farm liability policies, farmers face a number of challenges in securing adequate coverage and face liability risks when opening up their land to the public.
- Inheritance Tax exemption for family farm estate plans resulting in the transfer of a farm to family members is the substance of Senate Bill 580 (Gordner-R-Columbia) as a “clarification of Act 85” according to the sponsorship memo. SB 580 was reported out by the Senate Finance Committee and re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Without passage of Senate Bill 756 (Schwank-D-Berks) or similar legislation, First Industries which provides loan guarantees for farm credit institutions will sunset July 15, 2015. SB 756 is in the Senate Community & Economic Development Committee.