Things are starting to move at the Legislature, but it was still a slow week for CSPA priorities. Committees started to hear bills last week, but we still have not had any bills heard on the House or Senate floors yet. On Friday, both the House and the Senate held a one-of-a-kind joint memorial for the late House Minority Leader Hugh McKean who died of a heart attack on October 30th. Memorials for deceased lawmakers are usually single chamber events in the chamber, either the House or the Senate, where the lawmaker served. Friday’s memorial took place during an informal joint session of the House and Senate. Minority Leader McKean was well liked on both sides of the aisle and had that rare ability to make everyone he talked to feel special. In fact, more than one person has jokingly indicated that they realized everyone felt this way about Hugh and that they in fact weren’t that special.
Later today, the House Finance Committee is expected to hear HB 1016 Temp Tax Credit for Public Service Retirees. HB 1016 would make every PERA retiree who is 55 or older at the end of 2023 or 2024 eligible to receive a $700 refundable state income tax credit during that respective year. I am working to amend the bill to remove the age 55 requirement for state troopers since, unlike most state employees, troopers are eligible to retire prior to age 55. The bill sponsors have indicated they are concerned about the fiscal impact of the bill as drafted – $239 million over two years – and may have to narrow the scope of the bill to get it passed. I will continue to work to ensure all CSPA retiree members receive the greatest benefit possible under the bill. More news on this next week.
So far, there have been 212 bills introduced – 122 in the House and 90 in the Senate. Only 98 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.