Harrisburg, Pa., September 29, 2023 — Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro was recently announced as the keynote speaker at the 2023 New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention. His appearance in Bedford, New Hampshire—one of the earliest primary states—spotlights his potential national ambitions. But, according to Commonwealth Foundation research, Shapiro’s meager record and lack of legislative accomplishments in Pennsylvania undermine his leadership message.
Gov. Shapiro’s national ambitions contrast starkly with his record of unfulfilled campaign promises. He has yet to secure a vote on Lifeline Scholarships/PASS (Pennsylvania Award for Student Success). in the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In addition to his inability to deliver on his commitment to that initiative, Shapiro has left vital budget components in limbo.
Pennsylvania’s state budget, nearly three months overdue, remains incomplete. Approximately $1.1 billion in spending in General Appropriations bill will be sequestered without enabling legislation. Current state law doesn’t provide for many programs, including “Level Up” funding for public schools, student-teacher stipends, grants for “Whole Home Repairs,” and support for “Historically Disadvantaged Businesses.”
Further, Shapiro’s campaign pledge to reduce Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income tax—among the nation’s highest—to 4 percent by 2025 remains unaddressed in the partial state budget. Similarly, his proposal to eliminate cell phone taxes, a frequently touted idea over the last several months, has stalled, along with numerous other bills.
Nathan Benefield, Senior Vice President at the Commonwealth Foundation, stated, “Gov. Shapiro has been more focused on photo ops and self-congratulatory posts on social media than actually governing. His appearance in New Hampshire seems aimed at higher office, but the nation won’t be impressed by his inability to lead here in Pennsylvania.”
According to a recent Commonwealth Foundation analysis, Gov. Shapiro has been the least effective Pennsylvania governor, in terms of legislation enacted, in the last 50 years. During his first six months, he signed only 15 bills, compared to an average of 86 bills signed by previous governors during the same period. Despite a full-time legislature, the 15 bills signed represent the fewest of any sitting governor with a divided government.
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