STATE BOARD OF FUNERAL DIRECTORS
[ 49 PA. CODE CH. 13 ]
[43 Pa.B. 2044]
[Saturday, April 13, 2013]
The State Board of Funeral Directors (Board) proposes to amend § 13.12 (relating to fees) to read as set forth in Annex A.
The proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. It is anticipated that the increased biennial renewal fees will be implemented with the January 31, 2014, biennial renewal.
Section 18.1 of the Funeral Director Law (act) (63 P. S. § 479.18.1) requires the Board to increase fees by regulation to meet or exceed projected expenditures if the revenues raised by fees, fines and civil penalties are not sufficient to meet expenditures over a 2-year period.
Background and Need for Amendment
Under section 18.1 of the act, the Board is required by law to support its operations from the revenue it generates from fees, fines and civil penalties. In addition, the act provides that the Board must increase fees if the revenue raised by fees, fines and civil penalties is not sufficient to meet expenditures over a 2-year period. The Board raises the majority of its revenue through biennial renewal fees. A small percentage of its revenue comes from other fees, fines and civil penalties. In 2006, facing rising deficits for the foreseeable future, the Board undertook a proposed rulemaking to implement a fee increase in an attempt to avoid continued deficits and restore the Board's fiscal integrity. At the time, it was anticipated that the increase would be implemented in time for the February 1, 2008, biennial renewal. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond the Board's control, the final-form rulemaking was not published until January 24, 2009, and was not implemented until the 2010 biennial renewal. This delay caused additional deficits to accrue. For that reason, the Board recognized that it might have to look into the possibility of another fee increase to address the lingering deficits.
At the December 7, 2011, Board meeting, representatives from the Department of State's Bureau of Finance and Operations (BFO) presented a summary of the Board's revenue and expenses for Fiscal Years (FY) 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, and projected revenue and expenses through FY 2014-2015. By the beginning of FY 2009-2010, the Board accrued a deficit of over $1 million. At the end of FY 2010-2011, in spite of the implementation of the fee increase, the BFO reported that the Board continued to run a deficit of $790,540.68. At the current fee levels, the Board receives revenue of approximately $2.06 million over a 2-year period (consisting of a renewal year and a nonrenewal year). Budgeted expenditures for the next 2 fiscal years (FYs 2012-2013 and 2013-2014) are approximately $2.406 million. Therefore, the Board determined that it was necessary to raise fees to meet or exceed projected expenditures in compliance with section 18.1 of the act and to eliminate the existing deficit. The Board asked the BFO to provide several alternatives with recommendations for a fee increase to remedy the situation. Thereafter, in January 2012, the BFO provided several scenarios, including the possibility of a $100—$115 increase, as well as alternatives if the Board were to change to an annual license renewal cycle.
At the time, the Board determined to wait until the close of FY 2011-2012 and review revenue and expenditure projections at that time. In June 2012, the BFO returned with revised estimates and recommended a $75 increase to the biennial renewal fees as sufficient to eliminate the existing deficit, provide for the current level of operations and return the Board to firm financial ground. As a result, the Board voted at its July 5, 2012, meeting to increase biennial renewal fees from $325 to $400 to read as set forth in Annex A.
Description of Proposed Rulemaking
The proposed rulemaking would amend § 13.12 to increase the biennial renewal fees for funeral directors, funeral supervisors and funeral establishments from $325 to $400.
The proposed rulemaking will increase the biennial renewal fees for licensees of the Board. There are currently approximately 3,240 licensed funeral directors, 1,234 licensed funeral supervisors and 1,642 funeral establishments (including the following license categories: branch, estate, professional corporation, sole proprietor, partnership, restricted business corporation, widow and pre-1935 business corporation) that will be required to pay more to renew their licenses when they expire in 2014 and thereafter. The vast majority of funeral establishments are considered small businesses. They will be impacted because their license fees will increase. The degree to which small businesses will be impacted depends on whether they elect to pay the licensure fees on behalf of their licensed employees, as well as the establishment's license. The proposed rulemaking should not have other fiscal impact on the private sector, the general public or political subdivisions of this Commonwealth.
The proposed rulemaking will require the Board to alter some of its forms to reflect the new fees. However, the proposed rulemaking will not create additional paperwork for the regulated community or for the private sector.
The act requires the Board to monitor its revenue and costs on a fiscal year and biennial basis. Therefore, a sunset date has not been assigned.
Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on April 2, 2013, the Board submitted a copy of this proposed rulemaking and a copy of a Regulatory Analysis Form to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and the Chairpersons of the House Professional Licensure Committee and the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.
Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC may convey comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed rulemaking within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections must specify the regulatory review criteria which have not been met. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the rulemaking, by the Board, the General Assembly and the Governor of comments, recommendations or objections raised.
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to Cynthia Montgomery, Regulatory Counsel, Department of State, P. O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649 within 30 days following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. When submitting comments, reference Regulation No. 16A-4822.
MICHAEL J. YEASOCK,
(Editor's Note: For a corrective amendment relating to this proposed rulemaking, see 43 Pa.B. 2033 (April 13, 2013).)
Fiscal Note: 16A-4822. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 49. PROFESSIONAL AND VOCATIONAL STANDARDS
PART I. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Subpart A. PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL AFFAIRS
CHAPTER 13. STATE BOARD OF FUNERAL DIRECTORS
§ 13.12. Fees.
Following is the schedule of fees charged by the Board:
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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 13-663. Filed for public inspection April 12, 2013, 9:00 a.m.]
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