As the nation is financially strangled by out-of-control spending and trillions of dollars of debt, one would think that a highly ambitious Governor from a swing state would tidy up his own commonwealth to separate himself from a poorly polling President’s executive strategy. Unfortunately, Pennsylvanians were treated yesterday to a budget proposal that put the taxpayers right back into the fiscal hole they’re attempting to dig out of.
Governor Shapiro’s budget address read more like a Powerball drawing in which everyone wins a billion dollars, rather than a serious and sustainable proposal that would move Pennsylvania in a positive direction.
The spending proposed by the Governor would immediately put the commonwealth’s budget into a structural deficit. This spending would come, of course, without the ability to print monopoly money to pay for it like Washington lawmakers seem to think they can do. Worse yet, the rainy day fund, which props up our credit score and allows a cushion for said “rainy day”, would be eliminated as soon as the 2027 fiscal year.
The $48.34 billion dollar plan is a 6.2% increase over last year’s final spend number. That budget was, of course, propped up and inflated with federal funds that had to be used or lost from the COVID era. Governor Shapiro clearly chose not to take that into account for the long-term sustainability of his plans, but rather decided to dip into the commonwealth’s savings account to cover it in the short-term.
Given the grim outlook for Pennsylvania due to the Governor’s spending spree, the citizens of this commonwealth could be looking at roughly a 46% increase in personal income tax. The commonwealth’s poor business and tax climate have already driven out so many young people to other states that we’ve lost both Congressional seats and influence in Washington D.C. Due to this budget scenario, we will have an entire generation running for the nearest exit for a better place to raise their families. Through our declining population, we’ll ultimately have even less of a voice for the Keystone State in Washington and, of course, less resources in our own pockets.
Pennsylvanians are asking for many things: better tax rates to compete with neighboring states, less burdensome barriers for small business and entrepreneurs, better educational outcomes and equally important better choices to create opportunities for growth, and broader access to health care options. Unfortunately, the concerns of the people of Pennsylvania were not addressed in the Governor’s budget proposal.
What Pennsylvania was offered was more of the same…billions of more of the same.
There’s a better way. Had Harrisburg acted expeditiously many sessions ago to place Taxpayer Bill of Rights-like guardrails on state spending, Pennsylvania’s fiscal outlook would look much different—for the better. Instead, Pennsylvanians continue to flee the commonwealth for greener pastures, as they look to states like Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina for the opportunity for their resources to go much further.
Frustrated with the current fiscal environment? Looking to scale your voice in the name of fiscal sanity? Join our movement for more. Head to americansforprosperity.org to use your voice to fight back against reckless Harrisburg and Washington spending.
This is Emily Greene, Deputy State Director with Americans for Prosperity-PA.