Shapiro proposes massive, unrealistic spending increase that will result in substantial tax increases, hurting already struggling families.
(HARRISBURG) – Senate Majority Whip Ryan Aument (R-36) voiced concerns today about the excessive $3.2 billion increase in state spending in Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 state budget.
“Pennsylvanians are struggling to pay for groceries, gas, housing, utilities, and nearly every other everyday expense, sometimes working two or more jobs just to make sure they can pay their bills,” said Aument. “But while inflation is crushing our working class, Governor Shapiro is making grandiose budget proposals with substantial spending increases that are simply not possible without raising taxes on that same group of people that can afford it least. His proposal might sound nice, but we can’t pay for it without tax increases, and it ignores the reality many Pennsylvanians face every day to make ends meet during this period of historic inflation.”
Shapiro’s plan represents a 7.1% increase in overall state spending. This level of new spending is simply unsustainable unless the Governor would also significantly increase taxes on Pennsylvanians to pay for his unrealistic proposal.
In fact, the Governor did include new taxes in his budget in the form of so-called “sin taxes” on the legalization and regulation of adult-use cannabis and skill games.
The budget also includes a hike in K-12 education spending of $1.5 billion. The governor’s own budget office projections show this kind of increase is not sustainable in future years.
“How can we honestly continue to substantially increase K-12 education funding when, in recent memory, those increases have done little to improve student outcomes?” asked Aument. “Every year for the last few years, we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in public education, and yet math scores are down, reading scores are down, and attendance is down. These investments will mean nothing if we don’t make systematic changes to the way we educate our kids in this Commonwealth; clearly, money is not the issue and money alone will not be our solution, either.”
The budget also includes $127.1 million for the governor’s plan to merge the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education with the state’s community colleges. The proposal includes a move towards performance-based funding, which Sen. Aument has long supported.
Notably missing from the Governor’s proposal is a comprehensive energy roadmap for Pennsylvania to address an impending energy shortage.
“None of us want to deal with restrictions on when and how we can use electricity in our own homes, or worse, be subjected to rolling blackouts,” said Aument. “But with demand for energy consumption increasing and supply decreasing as we prematurely retire power plants our grid needs to meet that demand, those consequences could become reality in ten years or less. I’m disappointed the Governor didn’t prioritize this issue in his budget so that we can work collaboratively to address the reliability and affordability of our energy grid so that our constituents can have uninterrupted and unrestricted access to power in their homes and businesses.”
Senate Republicans will work during the next several months to examine Shapiro’s budget proposal and search for greater efficiencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin its series of budget hearings to study the budget proposal on Feb. 20.
CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate