HARRISBURG – Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) today issued the following statement regarding Gov. Josh Shapiro’s annual budget address during a joint session of the General Assembly:
“Gov. Shapiro has offered an ambitious state budget with a 7% increase in spending. While any plan draws mixed reviews, this one will warrant even greater analysis than usual because of the long-range implications of his proposals.
“The overall challenge is how to institute large reforms without crushing taxpayers today or putting too big of a mortgage on tomorrow. Any multi-year commitment to sizable spending increases launched this year raises the prospect for pressure on taxes or program reductions in coming years.
“Putting more money into the Rainy Day Fund this year only to drain it in subsequent years for non-emergency spending seems like an odd and contradictory way to proceed.
“Increasing funding for mass transit is always a difficult ask because of the backlog of infrastructure improvements statewide. Transportation improvement packages are generally built around every mode of transportation, and there will be pressure in that direction this year as well. If more sales tax revenue is dedicated to mass transit, the money is being diverted from other purposes and that promises to be a matter of contention.
“With the demographic and financing challenges facing higher education, there is a need to restructure the operation of publicly-funded state universities and community colleges. The governor has opened the door to a serious conversation about how these institutions compete for students and strengthen their program offerings, but the details are lacking. It is unclear what the impacts will be for Luzerne County Community College.”