HomeBudget & Tax NewsGov. Shapiro's First Pennsylvania Budget Proposal at a Glance

Gov. Shapiro’s First Pennsylvania Budget Proposal at a Glance

A major portion of the governor’s budget address focused on more money for Pennsylvania’s public schools

(The Center Square) – Gov. Josh Shapiro made the case for his proposed budget on Tuesday, claiming only a modest spending increase while boosting business growth, funding for public education, and the commonwealth’s safety net.

Shapiro also singled out tax incentives for teachers, health care workers, and police, and doing more to lure major business expansion deals to Pennsylvania like some neighboring states.

“This budget is packed with common-sense solutions to the problems that the people of Pennsylvanian face every single day,” Shapiro said. “Government can and should be a force for good in our lives. We can do big things together — if we just work, again, together.”

In total, Shapiro’s budget request claims that spending would slightly increase to $44.4 billion as the budget surplus would fall from $5.5 billion to $188 million by 2025-26.

A major portion of the governor’s budget address focused on more money for Pennsylvania’s public schools. In total, he proposed a 7.8% increase to both basic and special education funding.

He also asked for $500 million over the next five years to repair and upgrade schools, $500 million over the next five years for mental health counselors and services, universal free breakfast in public schools, and to grow investment in vocational and technical education as well.

“All-in, this budget increases public education funding by a billion dollars this year, with targeted support for students both inside and outside of the classroom,” Shapiro said.

He also promised to have “a comprehensive and meaningful reform plan for higher education” during next year’s budget address to make higher education more affordable and improve workforce development.

Economic growth was also a top priority.

“Pennsylvania is open for business and we’re going to make our Commonwealth a leader in innovation, job creation, and economic development,” Shapiro said.

He advocated cutting the corporate net income tax faster than the current scheduled reduction, expediting permitting and licensing approvals, and making it easier for businesses to operate in the state.

“Pennsylvania is poised to be a leader for decades to come,” Shapiro said. “We can secure that future – but to do it, we need to invest more in economic opportunity, cut through the red tape, and move at the speed of business.”

Calling it a “down payment,” the governor also proposed a 50% increase in the Manufacturing Innovation program” and more aggressively courting companies looking to expand, pointing to Intel’s expansion in Ohioas an example.

One major target for Shapiro is a hydrogen hub.

“We stand on the precipice of a major opportunity for energy and tech jobs – and Pennsylvania must lead the way by securing at least one regional hydrogen hub,” Shapiro said. “My administration supports Pennsylvania’s applicants, and we want the future of hydrogen to come through our commonwealth.”

Other major investments include childcare and policing.

“Our state economy loses nearly $3.5 billion a year because of a lack of child care options,” Shapiro said. “Right now, what’s really holding us back is that we don’t have enough child care professionals.”

He noted 4,000 unfilled child care jobs and asked for a $67 million funding to expand access.

Shapiro also noted a lack of nurses, police officers, and teachers in the commonwealth, and proposed tax incentives to fill these vacancies.

“Here’s how it works,” he said. “For anyone who earns a new license or certification in one of those three fields, or for anyone who has a license and decides to move to Pennsylvania for work, we’re going to put up to $2,500 back in their pocket every year for up to 3 years.”

Shapiro also argued for raising the minimum wage to $15 from its current $7.25 hourly rate, promised to defend abortion rights, and keep the commonwealth from becoming a right-to-work state. He also wanted to expand funding to revitalize main streets, help poultry farmers who lose birds to the avian flu, and improve the environment by plugging abandoned oil and gas wells.

“We must reject the false choice between projecting jobs and protecting our planet,” Shapiro said. “I believe we can do both – we can embrace the Commonwealth’s role as an energy leader, create good-paying jobs, and fulfill our constitutional obligation to protect Pennsylvania’s clean air and pure water.”

He also called for Republicans to work with him on a compromise.

“While we should hold firm to our individual values, that should not preclude us from opening up our minds and our hearts to one another to find common ground so that we can deliver the results the people of Pennsylvania deserve,” Shapiro said.

Originally published by The Center Square.  Republished with permission.

For more from Budget & Tax News.

For more public policy from The Heartland Institute.



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