On August 25, the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee held a hearing at Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania to discuss HB 2213. HB 2213 would increase the funding for the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program from $18 million to $25 million. House Finance Committee Chair Bernie O’Neil (R-Bucks) chaired the hearing and Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny), Representatives Leslie Acosta (D-Philadelphia), Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia), Mark Mustio (D-Allegheny), Tommy Sankey (R-Cambria, Clearfield), and Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) participated in the hearing. Nonprofit representatives that testified included Operation Better Block Executive Director Jerome Jackson, Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation Executive Director Tracey Evans, and Connellsville Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Michael Edwards. Business representatives that testified included Allegheny Conference on Community Development Senior Policy Analyst Will Bernstein, UPMC Health Plan CFO and UPMC Insurance Services Division Senior Vice President Scott Lammie, Highmark Health Senior Vice President of Community Affairs Evan Frazier, and Tri State Capital Vice Chairman Bill Schenck.
At the end of the hearing, Representatives O’Neill and Sankey pledged to amend HB 2213 to increase NAP funding from $18 million to $36 million.
Key testimony highlights include:
- Senator Fontana declared that NAP is a “proven” program that he and his colleagues want to continue supporting.
- Representative Mustio, who is HB 2213’s prime sponsor, said that the volume of NAP applications shows that the demand for NAP tax credits far outpaces the available $18 million.
- Jackson testified about the successes in implementing Homewood’s redevelopment cluster plan as a result of NAP funding.
- Evans testified that NAP funds are crucial to Wilkinsburg’s redevelopment and provided examples of what the community has accomplished because of the funds. She specifically discussed WCDC’s ability to leverage new funds with NAP funds.
- Edwards testified that NAP funds allow his organization to form new partnerships to develop Connellsville that have led to new construction, blight removal, and a community arts initiative.
- Lammie delivered impassioned testimony about UPMC’s support for the NAP program. He emphasized that place is an important determinant in health outcomes and advocated for the program to be expanded due to its success.