House Approves James’ Emergency Response Bill
HARRISBURG –The state House in Harrisburg today approved a bill introduced by Rep. Lee James (R-Venango) that would remove a tax provision that harasses out-of-state utility workers who come to Pennsylvania to restore service following an emergency.

“When Pennsylvanians lose services during an emergency, they expect their utility companies to do whatever is necessary to restore them,” James said. “Sometimes that means calling in crews from other states to work around the clock. We don’t want our tax laws to stand in the way of restoring utility services following an emergency.”

James is talking about a provision in current state law that requires out-of-state utility workers to pay all applicable taxes in any Pennsylvania municipalities where they work following an emergency.

Workers are responsible for paying the state income tax, local municipal income taxes and other municipal fees in the places where they perform work.

“We want these workers to focus on restoring services instead of worrying about the tax documents they’re going to have to file every time they cross a municipal boundary,” James said. “These guys almost have to bring a tax accountant with them to help restore services for our residents.”

James’ House Bill 2377 would allow out-of-state utility workers to perform work in Pennsylvania following an emergency without paying applicable state and local income taxes and fees. Workers would still have to pay the state sales tax on applicable purchases.

Out-of-state utility workers or the companies they work for currently have to pay several taxes and fees when helping Pennsylvania residents following an emergency, including the state income tax, local income taxes, local services taxes, local fees, state business licensing and registration fees, unemployment insurance costs and property taxes.

“These workers are leaving their families to come here for days or weeks and help us during our time of need,” James said. “In return, they’re getting headaches from all the tax documents they have to fill out. We should be thanking them instead of trying to squeeze tax dollars out of them.”

James’ bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845 /
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