shapiro capable of leading

Is Josh Shapiro Capable of Leadership?

Harrisburg, Pa., July 2, 2024 — In The Wall Street Journal, columnist William McGurn explores claims that Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, currently floated by some pundits as a possible replacement for President Joe Biden to top the Democratic ticket, would make an “attractive candidate” because he is a moderate. But Charles Mitchell, president of the free-market Commonwealth Foundation, says, “Josh Shapiro’s moderate image is a myth—so far.”

McGurn’s column follows research released by the Commonwealth Foundation, finding that Gov. Shapiro is the least productive Pennsylvania governor in at least the last 50 years. In his term so far, Shapiro has signed the fewest bills of any governor with a divided government. 

McGurn writes:

Mr. Mitchell cites a litany of issues such as energy and corporate tax cuts, on which Mr. Shapiro’s actions have fallen short of his rhetoric. But the most glaring is his inaction on school choice. On Sunday night, the deadline for a state budget passed without a deal. Just like last year, this means that a proposed voucher program is caught in the crossfire between a friendly Republican Senate and a hostile Democratic House. Mr. Shapiro says he favors school choice, but he is unwilling to lead. …

“Josh Shapiro promised school choice as a candidate,” says Mr. Mitchell. “But in 2023, his first year in office, he vetoed his own school-choice proposal in a failed effort to break a budget impasse of his own making. Now he calls Lifeline Scholarships ‘unfinished business.’ But he’s not showing any leadership, exerting any pressure, or spending any political capital to pass them.”

Pennsylvanians broadly support school choice. Mr. Mitchell cites a just-released Commonwealth Foundation showing 75% total support for “establishing scholarships for low-income students in Pennsylvania’s worst performing (bottom 15%) schools that would help pay for tuition to another K-12 school.” …

“As of now, Josh Shapiro is a perfect sub for Joe Biden—a moderate-talking, left-governing politician from the nation’s largest swing state who is failing to do the work of his office,” Mr. Mitchell says. “If he changes course this budget season and delivers for kids, he could become the kind of statesman America needs.”

Read William McGurn’s full column here.


The Commonwealth Foundation turns free-market ideas into public policies, fostering prosperity for all Pennsylvanians.