During his annual budget address earlier this week, Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed an approximate 7 percent increase in state spending as part of his budget plan for the upcoming 2024-25 fiscal year. The $48.3 billion plan focuses on investments in a number of areas, including: public education, transportation and economic development. The proposal does not include any broad based tax increases, but does call for the legalization of recreational marijuana, taxing skilled game machines and taking money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to pay for the spending increase. More details on the proposal can be found in this SpotlightPA article.
Reactions to the governor’s address fell mostly along party lines with legislative Republicans cautioning against such an increase in spending and taking money from the state’s reserves. Legislative Democrats largely hailed the plan’s spending priorities.
The governor’s budget address is widely viewed as the official start of the state’s budget season. The legislative session schedule – which has been notably light so far this year – will be focused on reaching a budget agreement before the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30. Any movement on big policy issues or major legislation is expected to happen over the course of the next four and a half months. With it being a legislative election year, it is not anticipated that any big-ticket items will move after the General Assembly recesses for the summer.