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ICYMI: Department of State Highlights Government Working At The Speed of Business: Significantly Cutting Down Business Licensing Time and Improving Licensing, Permitting, Certification Processes


Harrisburg, PA – Last year, Governor Shapiro signed an executive order to improve licensing, permitting and certification processes in Pennsylvania by establishing standard response times and money-back guarantees for applicants.

At this week's 2024-25 Senate Budget Hearing, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt testified to the Senate Appropriations Committee that the Department of State has not had to refund any application fees since the program went into effect Nov. 1, 2023, and that the turnaround time for the department's processing of those applications has decreased significantly, some by more than 50%.

In fact, since Nov. 1, the Department's Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) has issued 55,002 licenses. The Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations (BCCO) has processed 11,931 charity filings and 923 Institutions of Purely Public Charities (IPPs) filings. And the Bureau of Commissions, Notaries and Legislation has received 6,412 Notary applications.

As reported by PennLive, Schmidt and Acting BPOA Commissioner Arion Claggett provided several examples in their testimony of dramatically improved average processing turnaround times: from 12 days to one day for vehicle salesperson licenses;  from 15 days to seven days for real estate broker licenses; from 26 days to five days for pharmacist licenses; from 43 days to five days for doctor licenses; and from eight weeks to just two or three days for registering a corporation or charitable organization in Pennsylvania.

“That's what we've been asking for," Sen. Greg Rothman said during the hearing. “That's great news."

On Jan. 31, 2023, Shapiro signed the executive order creating PAyback, which followed his launch a week earlier of the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, a one-stop shop for businesses that want to grow in Pennsylvania.

The PAyback program directed all state agencies, boards, and commissions to compile a catalog of licenses, certificates, and permits they issue – including the statutory authority governing the length of time they must process applications and the application fee charged by each agency. The agencies had 90 days to send this information to the Governor's Office, which then established efficient application processing times for all occupational permits and licenses based on agency recommendations. If an agency does not respond to an applicant within the established timeline, the agency is required to refund the application fee.


CONTACT: Matt Heckel,​​

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