HARRISBURG – Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal unveiled this week would decimate the state’s savings by raiding $15.9 billion from the General Fund surplus and Rainy Day Fund balances, according to Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon).
The governor is seeking to gift billions to his pet projects, but that comes with a price tag representing an 8.4% spending increase over the current fiscal year, Diamond said.
“I’m sure it is fun to stand behind a lectern and grant the wishes of every agency and special interest group,” Diamond said. “However, it will fall to the 203 House members and 50 senators to craft a more reasonable spending plan. The hard work begins now.”
Diamond criticized delays in 2023-24 budget negotiations, which resulted in the budget being finalized seven months behind schedule. He emphasized that delays affect funding to important human services programs and cause problems for public school districts trying to estimate what their K-12 revenue will be for any given year.
The proposal set forth by Shapiro would incorporate revenue from the legalization of recreational marijuana. A supporter of the medical marijuana program and its associated controls, Diamond said he is very much opposed to legalizing recreational use.
“When I talk to my neighbors in Lebanon County, they tell me they are paying more and more for groceries, gasoline, utility bills and other everyday costs. This is not the time to saddle them with unsustainable spending from the state, which will ultimately lead to tax increases down the line,” Diamond said. “We need to learn from those we serve and live within our means financially.”
Representative Russ Diamond
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch