In this Update:
Public Hearing Next Week on the Sterling Act and its Impact on Suburban Communities
The Sterling Act, enacted in 1932 to assist Philadelphia following the depression, is Pennsylvania’s first local income tax enabling legislation and grants the City of Philadelphia broad taxing authority.
The City of Philadelphia imposes a City Wage Tax on salaries, wages, commissions and other compensation paid to employees commuting to work at a Philadelphia employer. Non-residents who commute to work in Philadelphia must pay the Wage Tax. Additionally, residents of Bucks County who work from home and their employer is based in Philadelphia must still pay the tax. $7-9 million annually is not remitted back from Philadelphia to our local municipalities.
However, unlike the imposition of local taxes in other taxing jurisdictions, none of the non-resident City Wage Tax is returned to the non-resident’s home government.
I will welcome the Senate Majority Policy Committee chair Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49) to the 6th Senatorial District for a public hearing about the Sterling Act and its impact on suburban communities on Thursday, March 2, starting at 10 a.m., in the Middletown Township Municipal Building, located at 3 Municipal Way, Langhorne, PA 19047.
The hearing will highlight the present-day impact of the Sterling Act on Philadelphia’s surrounding communities, with specific attention paid to the economic impact on individuals and municipalities and how the inequality of this tax practice has resulted in the loss of significant tax revenue to support local resident’s needs.
Testimony will be provided by a statewide local government organization, local residents, local municipal officials and tax professionals. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
In the Senate, I will continue to focus on correcting this long overdue issue and work towards amending the Sterling Act.
Senate Launches Hearings into Train Derailment at Pennsylvania-Ohio Border
The Pennsylvania Senate is holding hearings on the Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals near the Pennsylvania border.
The derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, near the border with Beaver County, Pennsylvania, was followed by a “controlled burn” of train cars containing vinyl chloride.
Thursday’s hearing in Monaca, Beaver County by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee focused on the emergency response to the train derailment and subsequent controlled chemical burn. It also featured testimony from concerned residents.
On Feb. 27, the Senate Transportation Committee will conduct a hearing on hazardous materials transported by rail in Pennsylvania. The panel will review federal and state laws, regulations and policies covering the safe transport and management of hazardous materials by rail. The public is invited to submit questions here.
Pennsylvania ranks first in the nation with the highest number of operating railroads, 65, and fifth in total track mileage, with more than 5,600 miles. Our community in Bucks County includes several freight rail lines that are used by similar type trains.
Friday Deadline for Business Taxpayers to Sign Up for New Online State Tax-Filing System
Business taxpayers in Pennsylvania are encouraged to sign up for an account on myPATH – the new online system that enables them to register, file and pay their state taxes through the Department of Revenue – before the old system goes offline this Friday.
The myPATH system was created to replace the prior online filing system known as e-TIDES, which the Department of Revenue will retire on Friday, Feb. 24. Taxpayers no longer will be able to use e-TIDES after that day. They will need to use myPATH to file their taxes.
Businesses can migrate their prior account information from e-TIDES into their new myPATH accounts.
An informational website about myPATH features step-by-step instructions and video tutorials on switching over, and an online customer service center can help taxpayers who still need assistance.
Resources for Understanding Military Benefits and Tax Filing
If you are a member of the military or veteran, you earned benefits from grateful citizens in honor of your service to our nation. You may find these resources on taxes and their benefits helpful this tax season.
For Pennsylvania state taxes, this U.S. Army site provides information on:
For federal taxes, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides information on how veterans can maximize their tax benefits. It covers what’s taxable and what’s not and includes AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program, which offers free tax help to anyone, with a focus on taxpayers who are 50 and older and have low to moderate incomes.
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