HARRISBURG –Today, Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled his budget priorities for the 2024-25 fiscal year. State Rep. Brian Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana) issued the following statement in response:
“Over 12 years, the Republican-led General Assembly worked hard to develop sensible spending plans to build a healthy surplus and Rainy Day Fund. In just his second year in office, Gov. Shapiro wants to start blowing through it at breakneck speed.
“His budget plan increases state spending by more than 8% for what would be a record high $48.34 billion total. It would spend nearly $16 million of our surplus and Rainy Day Fund over the next few years. We’re already in a structural deficit, and this plan does nothing to fix it.
“The governor said in his address that the money in these funds needs to be spent. How quickly have we forgotten the lesson that 2020 taught us? We don’t know when our next rainy day will be. That’s why that fund exists. It took 12 years of sensible budgeting to grow both the Rainy Day Fund and the surplus to today’s healthy levels. If the governor gets his way, all the good work done in those 12 years could be undone before he leaves office.
“A lot of the governor’s proposed spending isn’t necessary. He wants to form a statewide office of gun violence prevention. I’m not exactly sure what their job responsibilities would be. But I do know that it’s nothing that our prosecutors and fine police officers can’t handle.
“One topic that wasn’t addressed today was the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The Commonwealth is not allowed to collect fees from this program due to a court case questioning its constitutionality in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The governor’s budget materials state “this section will be updated following a resolution of that appeal or once the General Assembly has passed an alternative cap and invest program.”
“The governor claims he wants to be more competitive with Ohio. If you want to compete with Ohio, get rid of RGGI and all other cap and invest programs. We’re losing great jobs to our western neighbors because they have affordable energy. We could bring those jobs back if we stopped trying to make these silly programs work.”
The governor’s budget proposal is the first step in Pennsylvania’s budget process. Several budget hearings will occur over the coming weeks. The deadline to finalize the budget is June 30.
Representative Brian Smith
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jake Gillespie