by Emily Greene | May 29, 2024

Budget season is upon us as the Pennsylvania General Assembly heads back to Harrisburg to start what appears to be from the outside a long drag-out fight over the appropriation of your hard-earned tax dollars in the General Fund budget. Under the dome, this is the crescendo of months of back-and-forth posturing, both legislatively and politically, that provides the content which drives headlines on our local newscasts.

In a year in which the state House is up for grabs, along with the executive branch row officers, a US Senate seat and, of course, the coveted electoral college delegates for President, it will certainly be fascinating to watch as negotiations begin and continue, most likely, until election day in November.

We have discussed in previous journals Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal: one that spends all the money the commonwealth has in its coffers, including reserves, and eventually raises taxes to cover the deficits it creates. A bold plan, to put it nicely, that would make the Governor’s special interests happy and leave us, the citizens of the commonwealth, in despair.

Fortunately for us, the Senate Republicans put together a plan, one that now sits in the House, which would lower taxes and help lower energy costs. The Senate’s leadership has provided tremendously positive ideas that will hopefully make its way to the Governor’s desk—if House Democrats allow.

The wild card, of course, is the question of what the House Democrats will make their crown jewel of budget negotiations.

What this year’s budget will look like, in an economy that remains stuck in an ever-stagnate inflation bubble, remains unclear. What we as citizens need to do more than ever is have our voices heard. Our Representatives do not just work on session days, and Pennsylvanians must be proactive and share their concerns around the Governor’s proposed budget for this fiscal year.

Pennsylvanians should also remind the General Assembly that there is plenty of legislation that doesn’t cost millions or billions of dollars that they could be working on for the benefit of all. The best legislation generally comes with no price tag, and in fact, save taxpayers and consumers resources along the way.

Here’s what Americans for Prosperity is watching:

Senate Bill 739, a bill championed by Sen. Elder Vogel, would grant access to telehealth across the commonwealth. This common-sense legislation is something members in both chambers should be encouraged to support, as this allows for a free-market approach to addressing the commonwealth’s lack of access to quality care.

Activists across the commonwealth should also talk with their elected officials about House Bill 1466, or anti-SLAPP legislation, which is housed in the Senate after an unprecedented unanimous vote in the House chamber. This bill, which is short for anti- Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, upholds our First Amendment protections and would remedy the current SLAPP Laws which are used to silence dissent in public discourse through never ending and expensive litigation. Freedom of speech is the first of our Constitutionally protected rights, and it’s time the legislature allows Pennsylvania to be one of 33 states who has already passed this important protection.

With rent prices skyrocketing and lack of access driving up the cost for homebuyers, Harrisburg must also hear citizen input on House Bills 2045 and 1976, which, if enacted, would remove the government from the decision-making desk in regard to how you choose to build, allowing you to do what is best for you and your family instead of locally appointed zoning boards.

Despite the historic nature of budget seasons, there’s a lot of opportunities for consensus. This is what we’re watching as we turn the calendar to June. However, it’s not enough just to watch—it’s time to activate the most powerful in your toolkit: your voice. Join us by scaling up your support for common-sense, freedom-oriented policy solutions today by heading to, hitting the “take action” button at the top of the screen, and send a letter right to the inbox of your representation in Harrisburg. Help us ensure that the winners of this hotly contested budget fight are the hardworking taxpayers.