Pennsylvania Gov. Shapiro proposes $48 billion budget with focus on education, economy, and people – Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Gov. Josh Shapiro said in his second budget address on Tuesday that he wants to invest in the people of Pennsylvania with a $48.3 billion budget that directs new funding to education, economic growth and better opportunities for residents.

“We need to build a more competitive Pennsylvania that starts in our classrooms, runs through our union halls and small businesses, through our farmlands and our high rises, our college campuses, and leads to a life of opportunity and a retirement with dignity,” Shapiro said in remarks to be delivered during a speech in the state Capitol rotunda – a first in the building’s nearly 120-year history.

Shapiro spoke about the successes of his first year in office, which ended with an upgrade in Pennsylvania’s bond rating and a $14 billion surplus. In his second year, Shapiro said he believes it is time to invest some of the surplus “squirreled away in Harrisburg.”

“Look, it is not a badge of honor, nor is it something to be politically proud of for some lawmakers out there to say: I took more money from the good people of Pennsylvania than I needed and then bragged about how I just kept it in some bank account here in the Capitol,” Shapiro said, in a rebuke to lawmakers who argue the commonwealth should safeguard its reserves.

Shapiro noted that even if every one of the proposals in his budget passes, the state would still have an $11 billion surplus at the end of June 2025.

Shapiro also proposes tapping new revenue sources by legalizing and taxing the recreational use of cannabis by adults, which all of Pennsylvania’s neighbors save West Virginia have already done. Administration officials said revenue from legal marijuana is projected to reach $250 million annually in five years. 

The spending proposal Shapiro unveiled responds to a state court ruling last year that Pennsylvania’s K-12 education funding system is unconstitutional with more than $1 billion in new funding for public schools.

Shapiro’s budget builds on a 2022 campaign pledge to provide pathways to careers for young adults with a plan to overhaul the commonwealth’s public university and community college system, with a 15% increase in funding for state-owned universities and a 5% increase for the state’s four land grant universities.

It proposes more than $500 million in investments in the state’s first economic development strategy in more than 20 years while continuing a phased reduction in corporate income taxes, speeding state permitting to “work at the speed of business,” and redirecting more than $283 million in state sales tax to avoid public transit fare hikes and service cuts.

The budget would also provide increased funding for critical housing needs, job training, child care and support for those in need, such as older adults, veterans, families facing food insecurity, and people who need legal representation.

To fight gun violence, Shapiro proposed $75 million in new funding for gun violence intervention, prevention, investigation and prosecution as well as nearly $30 million in school- and community-based gun prevention, security for nonprofit institutions such as synagogues and churches, and the creation of the Office of Gun Violence within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. 

“While I expect you will carefully analyze my proposals and seek your own in the final budget, your analysis should be used as an excuse for paralysis,” Shapiro said in his remarks. “It’s time to solve these pressing problems, to meet this moment responsibly and with bipartisan compromise.”

 



Originally published at www.penncapital-star.com,by Peter Hall

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