HARRISBURG – Gov. Josh Shapiro today presented his $48.34 billion state budget proposal to the General Assembly, which is an increase in state appropriations of $3.7 billion or 8.4% over the current fiscal year. This amount far surpasses the current rate of inflation. Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) issued the following response to the governor’s proposal.
“I cannot support a budget which drains $15.9 billion from the General Fund balance and spends nearly $3.2 billion more than what the state currently brings in. This does not put Pennsylvania on strong financial footing. In fact, it does the exact opposite.
“The reserves the governor proposes to eviscerate are intended for emergency situations and in the event of an economic downturn, not new and recurring expenses. This means that unchecked spending equals an eventual tax increase.
“Given the demographic challenges we face with significant growth in the elderly population and contraction in the working-age population, this is not the time to go on a spending spree with our reserves, as well as expand government and introduce new spending.
“There are some positives to this proposal, such as increased support for senior citizens, fire and emergency medical services personnel, mental health services, state police, and military and veterans affairs.
“I am pleased the governor noted the importance of Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) reform in his remarks. My bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Jessica Benhem (D-Allegheny), will help keep costs low for consumers and support small, local pharmacies.
Gaydos noted the governor’s address is just the beginning of the annual state budget process. The House Appropriations Committee will conduct a series of hearings to examine the details of the governor’s plan and how state agencies are spending their funding. The hearings begin Tuesday, Feb. 20.
Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives