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Legislative Issues in Play as This Year's PA Budget Is Considered

Legislative Issues in Play as This Year's PA Budget Is Considered

June 30th is the annual deadline for a state budget in Pennsylvania. Though it’s not unusual for the budget to be signed a little late, the weeks leading up to the end of June are inevitably filled with press conferences, posturing, and behind-the-scenes negotiations on every issue touching the Capitol in Harrisburg. This year has been no different. The following are some issues under discussion that may be of interest to PMTA members. Not all will be addressed over the next few weeks, but any of them may by considered during budget negotiations.


Electric Vehicle Fees: Senate Bill 656, introduced by Sen. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry), would repeal the alternative fuel tax for vehicles under 14,000 lbs and replace it with an electric vehicle fee concurrent with registration. The bill was amended in the House to impose a graduated EV fee on these vehicles starting with $125, rising to $225 in 2029, and then indexed to inflation. SB 656 would not change the requirement for vehicles over 14,000 lbs to pay the existing Alternative Fuels Tax when charging, and EV fees under the bill do not apply to vehicles subject to IFTA. SB 656, as amended, may be considered in the budget as a partial remedy to declining motor fuels taxes. PMTA has expressed its support.

Reducing the amount of Motor License Funds spent on the State Police: Though supportive of our partners in law enforcement, PMTA has advocated for reserving Motor License Funds, which are collected from fuel taxes, for roads and bridges. Truckers pay 34% of these taxes in Pennsylvania, and PMTA prefers them to be spent on infrastructure. Over the past decade, several billion dollars has been diverted out of the Motor License Fund to cover State Police expenses. The last two budgets have restored $300 million of this funding to the Motor License Fund and replaced State Police funds with general funds. PMTA is hopeful that this reduction will continue this year to ensure more state funding is available for infrastructure.

Resolution to urge Congress to allow CDL holders under age of 21 to drive in interstate commerce: At a 2023 PMTA Legislative Meet-and-Greet, members expressed a desire to urge the federal government to allow 18-20-year-old drivers to drive in interstate commerce with appropriate training and support. In response, two state legislators introduced resolutions to urge Congress to consider expanding opportunities for under-21 drivers. Rep. Kyle Mullins (D-Lackawanna) introduced HR 322, which was passed unanimously out of the House Transportation Committee on March 18. Sen. Rothman introduced SR 258, which was voted out of the Senate Transportation Committee on June 5 (vote). SR 258 may be considered by the full Senate soon. At least four statewide associations have also expressed their support for passage of Rothman’s resolution.

Allowing online agents to process IFTA application and issue stickers: HB 2430, introduced by Rep. Ed Neilson (D-Philadelphia) and Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre, Mifflin), would permit online messenger services throughout Pennsylvania to process IFTA applications and issue IFTA stickers and documents. PMTA supports this bill, as it would ease the administrative burden and minimize downtime for companies because it would allow them to receive IFTA stickers instantly from messengers throughout the state, including PMTA.

There is also talk of a potential transportation funding plan. Governor Shapiro has requested an increase in funding for public transit agencies, and Republican leaders have expressed that initiatives like this typically are negotiated as part of a larger transportation funding plan. Discussions hinge on whether a source of revenue for such a plan can be determined. PMTA continues to monitor these discussions and asks that truck parking be included in any funding proposal as a vital infrastructure investment.


Several bills introduced in the Senate would helpful to workforce development in the trucking industry. SB 1150 and SB 1151, sponsored by Sen. Scott Martin (R-Berks, Lancaster), which are part of the GrowPA package, provide PA scholarships for in- and out-of-state students going into in-demand occupations if students agree to work in PA for at least 15 months following graduation. SB 1155, sponsored by Sen. David Argall (R-Carbon, Luzerne, Schuylkill) creates a Higher Education Task Force to make recommendations to improve career development resources, including expanding opportunities in community colleges and trade schools, attracting students in- and out-of-state, and encouraging employers to work with career and technology programs in high-priority occupations.


Legalizing adult recreational marijuana continues to be under discussion in the Capitol. Several bills have been considered in the state House that would legalize cannabis for adult recreational use, but none have yet made it to the Senate.

Energy and Environment

Legislators have introduced two of Governor Shapiro’s climate-related initiatives.

  • PA Climate Emission Reduction (PACER), introduced as HB 2275, sponsored by Aerion Abney (D-Allegheny) is the Governor’s alternative to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (which is being challenged in court). The PACER plan would establish a state-based fee on carbon dioxide emissions to be incorporated into a trading platform for fuels used in power plants. The proceeds would be used for the following: 70% returned to consumers as rebates on electric bills and 30% to fund energy efficiency products to reduce air pollution.
  • PA Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS) (SB 1190), sponsored by Sen. Steven Santarsiero (D-Bucks) updates the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard to increase the percentage of the cleanest and renewable fuels (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, small modular reactors, fusion, and coal mine and biologically derived fugitive emissions) that must be used for electricity generation in PA from 8% to 35% by 2035.

Despite DEP’s suspension of the regulation until Model Year 2027, PMTA continues to support removing Pennsylvania from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Heavy-Duty NOx Rule for truck emissions. There are two bills pending, which PMTA supports, that would address this issue.

  • SB 254, sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga, Union) would also delay enforcement until MY2027, but would also provide liability protection for companies until then.  
  • HB 990, sponsored by Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), repeals the CARB regulation entirely so that PA truck emissions regulations would fall under EPA’s requirements instead of California’s.


Independent Contractors: PMTA is monitoring several bills under consideration affecting independent contractors for their impact on the trucking industry and will express opposition as the need arises.

  • The Workplace Misclassification Act (HB 2411), introduced by Rep. Nick Pisciottano (D-Allegheny), would affect independent contractors by expanding the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act beyond the construction trades to other industries and substantially increases the number of investigators at the Dept. of Labor & Industry, giving them the authority to acquire records of employers as part of investigations and issue stop-work orders. 
  • HB 2112, sponsored by Rep. David Delloso (D-Delaware) would create an Employee Misclassification Working Group and require interagency cooperation between the Department of Revenue, the Department of Labor and Industry, and the Office of the Attorney General to coordinate enforcement strategies on employee misclassification.

The House passed a bill last summer, supported by Governor Shapiro, to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2026, after which it would be indexed to inflation. The Senate has yet to consider the bill.


The state Senate passed SB 269, sponsored by Rep. Chris Gebhard (R-Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon) by a vote of 36-14. This bill would decrease the state personal income tax from 3.07% to 2.8%. The bill would also eliminate the Gross Receipts Tax on energy, effective Jan. 1, 2025. Tax cuts are expected to be part of the budget discussion.

Bills in both the Senate and House would improve the treatment of net operating losses to help Pennsylvania stay competitive, retain businesses, and incentivize entrepreneurial investment.

  • SB 346 (Rothman) would increase the maximum net operating losses that can be carried forward from 40% to 80% to align with federal tax law and 48 other states.
  • HB 226, sponsored by Rep. Paul Friel (D-Chester), would allow businesses to sell their net operating looses and tax credits to unrelated companies, converting losses to capital. The initiative is based on a NJ law and is intended to permit monies received from these sales to be used to build and grow businesses in Pennsylvania.

Economic Development

HB 2425, introduced by Rep. Kyle Donahue (D-Lackawanna) and Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne), is a bill that would implement Gov. Shapiro’s proposed PA Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites (PA SITES) program. The initiative would authorize  up to $500 million to invest in site development, preparation, and readiness for businesses to expand or locate in Pennsylvania. Funded by a bond issue, the program would include both grant and loan options for private, public, and nonprofit site developers. PMTA has suggested that truck parking should be an eligible project for this program.

PMTA continues to track several initiatives that would reform the permitting process in Pennsylvania to speed up and simplify permitting. Business development and truck parking projects are often slowed or stopped in Pennsylvania because applicants are unable to get permits.

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