Pa. budget revenue package legalizes, taxes consumer fireworks

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – One of the revenue packages Gov. Tom Wolf signed Monday to bring Pennsylvania’s $32 billion budget into balance will allow Pennsylvanians to celebrate the New Year and the Fourth of July with a little more bang.

House Bill 542, now Act 43, legalizes and taxes consumer fireworks such as bottle rockets, Roman candles, aerial spinners, and small firecrackers.

The measure places a 12-percent tax on the purchase price – on top of the state sales tax and any local sales tax. Seventy-five percent of the tax collected will be used for grants to emergency medical services. The remaining 25 percent will go to programs for training volunteer firefighters.

Consumer fireworks must be sold in a standalone facility exclusively dedicated to their sale and storage, and the facilities must be licensed and inspected by the state Department of Agriculture. Annual license fees are $7,500, $10,000 or $20,000; depending on the size of the facility.

Temporary structures such as tents may be used to sell consumer fireworks from June 15 to July 8 and Dec. 21 to Jan. 2. The annual license fee is $3,000.

All facilities must have security personnel. Customers under the influence of drugs or alcohol and minors without an adult may not be permitted.

It will be illegal to use consumer fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or on public or private property without permission from the landowner. Fireworks may not be used within 150 feet of an occupied structure, thrown from a vehicle or building, or thrown at a vehicle, building, or person. Offenders will face a summary charge and a fine of up to $100.

Explosives such as M-80s, M-100s, cherry bombs, quarter-sticks, and half-sticks are still illegal, and people who sell them can be charged with a third-degree felony.

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