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What does Gov. Shapiro’s budget say about his priorities for Pennsylvania?

  • Scott LaMar
Gov. Josh Shapiro at his swearing-in. As one of his first acts as governor, he has loosened his predecessor's gift ban.

 Tom Gralish / Philadelphia Inquirer

Gov. Josh Shapiro at his swearing-in. As one of his first acts as governor, he has loosened his predecessor's gift ban.

Airdate: March 08, 2023

Gov. Josh Shapiro delivered his first state budget address as governor yesterday. The governor is proposing spending of $44.4 billion  – an increase of more than three and a half percent from this fiscal year’s budget.

The governor is calling for a $1 billion increase in education spending, a $2,500 tax credit for those seeking to become teachers, nurses or police officers, expanding the state’s Property Tax and Rent rebate program, free breakfasts for all school children, adding almost 400 new state troopers, more money to help low income families pay for child care, a reduction in the state’s corporate net income tax rate and a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Shapiro called the proposal conservative.

To discuss the budget plan on The Spark Wednesday was Berwood Yost, Director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy and Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College who said of the governor’s budget plan,”I think my first takeaway was that his budget address really re-emphasized the themes from his campaign, which, you know, I think we would expect most governors do that. And it really was, I think, an effort to to aim squarely at the middle. And in fact, when you think about the themes in his speech, he said some things that were, I think, pretty interesting. I mean, he talked about government being a force for good, which you would expect a Democrat to say. But at the same time, he talked about, you know, increasing economic opportunities, cutting red tape and moving at the speed of business, which isn’t necessarily something you would expect.”

Yost said Shapiro’s budget proposal shows what his priorities are,”This budget document is a policy document, right? I mean, this is where the rubber meets the road, in essence, that you can promise whatever you want as a candidate. But putting money to fund things really indicates your priorities. And I think it’s really clear that he’s indicating his priorities are in school and in public services. I mean, if you look at the budget detail, right, the single the department that had the single largest funding increase, I think was Human Services, it went up almost 16 and a half percent. So, you know, and then, of course, education had a large increase, too. So, I mean, I think he’s signaling where are the things that matter to him are.”

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