Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted in favor of House Bill 790 by a vote of 105-90. The bill now heads to the Pennsylvania Senate where I expect to see additional changes to the legislation. It looks like Pennsylvania is about to get out of the business of selling alcohol to its citizens.
Monthly Archives: March 2013
The word out of Harrisburg is that meaningful legislative activity on this issue will commence in the House very soon, possibly this week. The latest version of House Bill 790 includes an amendment providing that grocery stores, big-box retailers, convenient stores and pharmacies would not be able to obtain beer licenses unless they first acquired a restaurant license. The Bill would also allow private entities to bid on 1,200 new wine and spirit licenses one year after the law’s enactment, providing beer distributors a right of first refusal of a wine and spirit license. An installment plan would also allow beer distributors to pay off the cost of a wine or spirit license over four years if they pay an additional 5 percent. The amendment also created a new license to allow grocery stores to sell unlimited amounts of wine. Additionally, the state-run wholesale operation would be auctioned off a year after the law’s enactment, where one wine and spirit wholesale license would be approved for each applicant. The prohibition on alcohol sales at gas stations would also be lifted. The Bill is expected to receive support or opposition along party lines with most Democrats lining up against the bill and most Republicans in favor. It seems this version of the long discussed Privatization effort may have some momentum, stay tuned.
Report From Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) Seminar
My colleague, Sarah Ivy, did a great job speaking at the Pennsylvania
Restaurant & Lodging Association’s annual meeting this past weekend. The
topic of Sarah’s presentation was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act (“PPACA”). There were many questions from an audience consisting of
franchisors, owners and operators of many well known restaurant and lodging
brands. Whether the operator was large or small, the questions focused on
how the PPACA will impact the bottom line and the workforce. The restaurant
and lodging industries face unique challenges with the implementation of the
PPACA as they tend to rely heavily on part-time workers. One of the large
franchisors in attendance explained that their system now designates one
full-time employee in each restaurant location to manage workers’ time so
that their number of full-time equivalent workers stays within the
parameters that ownership has determined acceptable. Dedicating additional
resources to manage the penalties and costs of the PPACA will be the norm
for many businesses going forward.
If you are an employer, large or small, and you are uncertain how to manage
the impact of the PPACA, you need to speak with Sarah or another tax
Liz MacDonald of Fox Business News reports that the IRS is looking for
businesses that misclassify workers as “independent contractors” when they
are actually employees. President Obama believes this effort can raise as
much as $7 Billion by finding companies who should be paying more payroll,
Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes. It is reported that
fines can be up to 100% of the payroll taxes due.
As the Affordable Care Act takes effect, a strange new phenomenon is taking
place among small businesses throughout the United States. According to The
Wall Street Journal’s recent article entitled “Obamacare And The ’29’ers”,
small businesses are struggling with decisions about whether or not to hire
more than 49 employees or to hire employees for more than 29 hours. To do
so, may require them to provide costly healthcare benefits or face penalties
for not doing so. It explains why many small business owners are cutting
back hours for employees and/or putting a freeze on hiring. The Act has
created a whole new category of company and employee, and unlike its intent,
in many instances has not been responsible for expanding the number of
people covered by health insurance.