A recent budget impasse in Pennsylvania had the turf industry playing defense. Penn State extension services — of which the turf industry relies — were in danger of being defunded. Extension agents in the state encouraged industry members to reach out to the state legislator to voice opposition of losing extension, and I’m told the response was tremendous. In speaking with Dr. Landschoot, Penn State professor and extension specialist, he was very grateful for the industry's engagement and believes it made a big difference in the outcome. Not only did extension keep their funding, but they also got a nine percent increase in their budget. Not bad.
Likewise, the state assembly was considering a recreational tax implementation to increase revenues, which would have included taxes on greens fees. Luckily, no tax was ever implemented. While this news comes as a relief for now, the state will still have to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, which turns over in June. Our lobbyist, Malady & Wooten, tells me this will be another challenge facing the industry, as these budgetary topics — extension, recreational tax — could be on the table once again. Stay tuned for more information and action alerts should we need to engage another grassroots effort in voicing our opinions with the new budget. In the meantime, we will have a great opportunity to speak with our legislators face-to-face during Pennsylvania Golf Day, set to be hosted in Harrisburg on June 22. Contact me if you’d like to be involved!