Harrisburg, Pa., February 6, 2024 — Today, Gov. Josh Shapiro delivered his 2024 Pennsylvania budget address in the Capitol rotunda. His speech, lasting approximately an hour and a half, included proposals to massively increase education funding and public transit spending. The governor also pitched dramatically expanding the state’s corporate welfare programs and more than doubling the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Gov. Shapiro’s budget proposal totaled $48.3 billion, a 7.1% increase over the previous year.
Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield issued the following statement in response:
“Gov. Shapiro’s proposed budget is a shockingly fiscally irresponsible partisan wish list. Shapiro shows no willingness to even acknowledge the structural deficit, much less address it. In fact, his proposals exacerbate the deficit, draining all state reserves and forcing tax hikes in the coming years.
“Shapiro tries to solve problems simply by throwing more taxpayer dollars at them. His public transit proposal is a case in point. Shapiro wants $282.8 million in additional public transit spending in 2024 and another $1.5 billion over the next five years—for transit agencies with declining ridership and bloated bureaucracies. That’s a bailout, not a solution.”
“This budget address was a missed opportunity to separate himself from the typical tax-and-spend approach that defined the prior administration. Instead, Shapiro embraced the same tired liberal strategies that have created crippling budget deficits. Last year, state spending outpaced revenue by a stunning $1.1 billion—and under Shapiro’s proposed 2024 budget, this balloons to $4 billion.”
“The governor’s 10-year economic development plan sounds like it was pulled straight from the former Soviet Union. It’s thinly veiled corporate welfare, nothing more. And it’s born out of the mistaken notion that our politicians know best. They get to pick winners and losers, doling out your tax dollars to ‘favored’ corporations—typically those with the best lobbyists. It’s a failed economic strategy, and Pennsylvania needs a better path forward.”
“We are pleased that Shapiro reaffirmed his support for Lifeline Scholarships passed by the Senate and called on the House to work together on this priority. We wish more Democrat governors were willing to speak out like this. Unfortunately, despite a budget address with over 11,000 words, there were zero dollars in Shapiro’s proposal to help kids.”
“Shapiro says he wants Pennsylvania ‘open for business,’ but his proposals don’t match his rhetoric. If Pennsylvania pursues the same failed liberal spending policies of the past, our industries will continue to decline, our state will keep bleeding jobs, and our young professionals will leave for greener pastures elsewhere. To truly ‘get stuff done,’ the governor seriously needs to reconsider his approach and budget priorities.”
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