Could Fireworks Soon Become Legal in Pennsylvania?
You may not have to drive to Ohio to buy certain fireworks anymore. The State Senate passed a tax bill, which includes legalizing fireworks.
Pennsylvania could soon see a change in the laws regarding fireworks, as the State Senate passed a tax bill which includes legalizing them.
"It would make more types of fireworks legal, rather than people going to Ohio to get them, they could buy them here," said State Representative Brad Roae.
Rep. Roae is in support of legalizing fireworks, but would support the bill more if it stood alone. He said legalizing fireworks could add an estimated two-to-three million dollars a year to the budget. However, it currently is grouped into the entire tax bill, which Roae said could be amended before being passed in the house.
"We're probably not going to do all the tax increases that the Senate wants to do," said Rep. Roae.
Amy Schmidt, Chief of Staff for Representative Ryan Bizzarro said it could be passed as is, to avoid delaying the revenue process. She adds the proposed bill is in conflict with the current state law regarding fireworks.
The new proposal would require the department of agriculture to handle firework permits, which the municipalities currently handle, this could result in a legal challenge.
"The displays are being done in a municipality. So the municipality should have the right to say where it can be done, and what requirements they have, make sure it's safe," said Schmidt.
If the bill was passed as is, people could purchase fireworks, but it would come with a hefty tax. Instead of the normal six percent sales tax, an additional 12 percent tax would be added on.
"I think that makes fireworks vendors in this state less competitive, and people in the state more likely to drive somewhere else," said John Kaliszewski, owner of Big Woodie's Fireworks Shop.
Kaliszewski wants fireworks legalized in Pennsylvania but believes people shouldn't be taxed 18 percent for them.
"It just makes sense to make it so people here locally can purchase fireworks, then get the additional revenue from those folks, the six percent sales tax they're already missing out on," said Kaliszewski.
The house is expected to look at the tax bill soon.