HARRISBURG – In response to Governor Josh Shapiro’s first budget address today, Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39), Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) and Appropriations Committee Chair Scott Martin (R-13) reiterated their commitment to passing a conservative, fiscally responsible spending plan that strengthens Pennsylvania.
The leaders voiced concerns with this proposal to increase spending by more than $1.3 billion above the current year’s budget. However, the $45.8 billion budget proposal unveiled by Shapiro today does also include many priorities shared by Senate Republicans, including workforce development, infrastructure advancements, safe communities, and mental and behavioral health supports. These are four of the issues identified as priorities by Senate Republican leaders last week.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin a series of public hearings on Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget plan on March 20.
“Inflation and the economy remain at top of mind for all Pennsylvanians and the Senate Republican Caucus is committed to strengthening the Commonwealth by restoring economic freedom and positioning communities to thrive. There are some glaring items missing from Gov. Shapiro’s budget that prevent Pennsylvania from reaching its full potential by unleashing – not restricting – Pennsylvania’s energy resources and establishing a 21st century education system that focuses on retention by producing the necessary skilled workers to support an innovative economy.”
“Regardless of how long it may take to come to an agreement, the final budget will respect taxpayers, protect jobs, and keep Pennsylvania on a prosperous path for future generations. The governor’s proposed tax credit only for certain front-line workers picks winners and losers. Now is the time to encourage workforce participation in all areas and to make it more attractive for every individual to find a job. There is still extensive work to be done in order to produce a balanced and responsible state budget for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.”
“For years, Senate Republicans have worked hard to create responsible budgets and attract and retain quality jobs throughout the state. While Governor Shapiro gave us a more realistic starting point than in years past, I still have concerns about the level of spending in this budget and the draining of the Rainy Day Fund in future years. We cannot spend more money than we’re taking in. We should be looking for ways to build up our Rainy Day Fund — not empty it. Also, his budget acknowledges $600 million coming from RGGI. That is tantamount to a $600 million increase in the cost of electricity to every consumer in this commonwealth. He can’t call this a no-new-taxes budget if he’s raising energy costs on consumers and job creators.”
Erica Clayton Wright (Ward)
Kate Eckhart Flessner (Pittman)
Jason Thompson (Martin)