PA Chamber Voices Support for Package of Regulatory Reform Bills at Press Conference

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Pennsylvania’s business community has long protested against an onslaught of regulations from bureaucrats at all levels of government that make it harder to start and complete projects and grow the economy. Last week, PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Kevin Sunday spoke at a press conference in support of a package of bills that aims to reduce regulatory burdens at the state level.

According to state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, who organized the press conference, the bills were introduced in light of the “Regulatory Overreach Report,” which was compiled following a series of public hearings where employers, organizations and experts on regulatory policy all reiterated the negative impact that overzealous regulation has had on private sector growth and job creation. The package of bills would accomplish several reforms in terms of cutting through regulatory red tape, not the least of which would be ensuring that the General Assembly – not agency bureaucrats – have more authority to set regulatory policy. In addition, the bills would establish the Independent Office of the Repealer to review existing regulations; process and deliver recommendations to elected officials; require that lawmakers must approve any economically significant regulation (one with an impact of $1 million or more) for it to go into effect; and improve wait times for what is now a lengthy permit approval process.

At the press conference, Sunday stressed that regulatory policies carry the full weight of the law and should not be set by agencies with no stake in their outcome. He also applauded lawmakers for working to re-establish the legislative branch as the primary branch of government for policy making. In a statement issued the same day as the press conference, Sunday also urged Congress to pass the Regulatory Accountability Act and reduce regulatory burdens at the federal level.

“As federal mandates continue to place a major strain on both business and state and local governments, we also applaud Congress for its continued consideration of the Regulatory Accountability Act … to obligate agencies to take the most cost-effective regulatory path to achieve the state policy goals of the legislative branch and to bring more accountability and transparency to the rulemaking process,” Sunday stated.

The bipartisan Regulatory Accountability Act has already passed the U.S. House and has been reported out of a Senate committee; the PA Chamber is encouraging Senators Toomey and Casey to vote for this important legislation.

Welcome Keystone Insurance Associates, Inc.

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member Keystone Insurance Associates, Inc., to help us fulfill our mission.

Founded in 1988 and under new ownership as of 2017, Keystone Insurance Associates is a locally-owned, independent insurance brokerage. It prides itself on being a one-stop shop for insurance. It offers home, auto, life, general liability and business, group benefits, worker’s compensation and other types of commercial insurance. It also provides access to various other types of personal insurance, such as umbrella, landlord protection, student housing and flood. Located at 507 Market St. (rear) in Bloomsburg, it can be reached at 570-784-0114, or visit its website

Here We Go Again: IRS Extends Information Reporting Deadline

From ChamberChoice

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) must report its offer of affordable coverage to its full-time employees. This reporting is achieved by providing a Form 1095-C to full-time employees (and any covered individual under a self-insured plan). In order for an individual to demonstrate having minimum essential coverage (MEC) and avoid a tax penalty under the individual mandate, insurers and small employers with self-insured health coverage, must provide a Form 1095-B to any covered responsible individual.

In 2015 and 2016 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the deadline for issuing certain required reporting forms. Recently, the IRS issued Notice 2018-06 which again provides a similar extension regarding the reporting of health coverage provided during the 2017 calendar year. Just as before, this Notice provides an automatic 30-day extension to the deadline for issuing Forms 1095-C and 1095-B from Jan. 31, 2018 to March 2, 2018.

Since the IRS is providing this extension to all employers, no additional extensions can be requested or submitted using Form 8809. Any extensions that were already requested by an employer will not receive an additional extension.

However, a word of caution, the filing which is due to the IRS has not been extended. The due date for filing Form 1094-C to the IRS, with copies of Form 1095-Cs provided, remains at Feb. 28, 2018 if not filing electronically (less than 250 Forms). If filing 250 or more Forms, and electronically, the deadline is April 2, 2018. The ability to request a 30-day extension for this remains an option.

As in the previous extensions, this notice also provides certain “good-faith compliance” with the reporting rules. Substantial penalties may be avoided where an employer or an insurer can show that they have made good-faith efforts to comply with the information-reporting requirements (both for furnishing to individuals and for filing with the IRS). Another note of caution however, this relief only applies to missing and inaccurate taxpayer identification numbers and dates of birth, as well as other information required on the return or statement. Relief is not provided in the case of reporting entities that do not make a good-faith effort to comply with the regulations or that fail to file an information return or furnish a statement by the due dates (as extended under the rules described above).

An employer needs to be aware of the importance of the receipt of these documents by their employees. The extension of the reporting deadlines should not be interpreted as a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate. The individual mandate, and the penalty for not having “minimum essential coverage” remains in effect for 2017 and 2018. The Notice confirms that employees need not wait to receive either a Form 1095-C or 1095-B before filing their tax returns. Instead, an employee may rely on information provided by their employer.

In summary, the IRS again has provided an extension for the distribution of Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to full-time employees and covered individuals. An extension has been granted from Jan. 31, 2108 until March 2, 2018. This extension however, is not applicable for Forms 1094-C and 1094-B which must be filed with the IRS. In addition to extending the distribution deadline, the IRS continued the interim good faith compliance standard that was in effect for the 2015 and 2016 years of ACA reporting.

Members Tour Bloomsburg YMCA, Enjoy Tasty Food From Marley’s Brewery & Grille at 2018’s First Business After Hours

Chamber members enjoyed some tasty appetizers from Marley’s Brewery & Grille, had an opportunity to tour the Bloomsburg Area YMCA and learned about some of the Y’s ongoing initiatives and mission all while networking and catching up with fellow members at the Columbia Montour Chamber’s first Business After Hours of 2018 on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Attendees also had a chance to meet the YMCA’s staff and learn about the many programs that it offers to people of all ages throughout the Bloomsburg community. Additionally, members were once again made aware of the ongoing promotion during the month of January going on at Marley’s, which brewed a special beer, Cheat Day Pale Ale, with $1 of each pint sold being donated back to the YMCA’s youth scholarship fund. Attendees that checked into the YMCA on Facebook also were given a free YMCA magnet. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be held at the Danville Child Development Center, located at 986 Wall St. (old address 398 Wall St.), on Wednesday, Jan. 31, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Bloomsburg and Luzerne County Community College Nursing Programs Enter Into Agreement

Two Chamber members, Bloomsburg University and Luzerne County Community College, recently entered into a new agreement that will help facilitate the transfer of LCCC’s nursing program graduates to BU to complete their bachelor’s degree. Nationally, nursing is one of the most in-demand professions and with two of our area’s largest employers — Geisinger and Commonwealth Health-Berwick Hospital Center — both being affected by this national shortage of nurses, the Chamber hopes that this new agreement can, over time, help address this workforce shortage for this profession on a local level. 

Below is the official joint press release from BU and LCCC announcing this new collaboration. 

NANTICOKE–Luzerne County Community College and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania have entered into a new agreement which will help LCCC nursing graduates transfer from the community college to Bloomsburg University to complete their bachelor’s degree.

The Guaranteed Admissions Agreement is designed to facilitate the transfer of LCCC nursing graduates from The Mary Gill Carrozza, R.N. School of Nursing and Health Sciences to the BU online nursing program. LCCC graduates will be guaranteed admission into BU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) online degree program with third year (junior) status.

In order to take advantage of the program-to-program agreement, students must graduate from LCCC with an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in nursing with a minimum grade point average of 2.0. LCCC nursing graduates are also required to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) prior to beginning courses at BU. The application fee to Bloomsburg will be waived.

“We’re pleased to continue our valuable partnership with Bloomsburg University, which has consistently ranked among the most popular choices for our students to continue their education,” says Thomas P. Leary, president, LCCC. “The College has many nursing graduates who are employed in the region and this cooperative agreement allows them to continue their education online and obtain a bachelor’s degree while working in their field.”

“This is another fine example of the strong, collaborative efforts BU maintains with its significant community college partners in Pennsylvania, with the ultimate goal of student success,” says Dr. Bashar Hanna, president, Bloomsburg University.

For more information about the new partnership, contact Jim Domzalski, director of enrollment management at LCCC at 570-740-7342 or email, or Tom Fletcher, vice president of enrollment management at BU at 570-389-5161 or email.