Feb. 06, 2024

HARRISBURG – After attending Gov. Josh Shapiro’s 90-minute budget address that calls for an 8.4% spending increase, raises the overall spend to a whopping $48.34 billion and blows through nearly $16 billion in surplus funds and Pennsylvania’s Rainy Day Fund, several House members from Westmoreland County issued the follow statements:

“When I was a child, my Christmas list involved circling just about all the sporting goods and every toy in the Sears catalog. It seems like Gov. Shapiro took the same approach with his speech today, which was nothing more than a fantasy wish list,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman George Dunbar. “Responsible budgeting does not mean issuing blank checks with no regard for taxpayers. It means keeping government spending in check, prioritizing where those funds go and making tough choices.”

“By intentionally overspending hundreds of millions of dollars, and using one-time savings for recurring costs, Gov. Shapiro is setting the stage for a massive tax increase on working families,” said Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland). “I agree with his proposals for economic development, improvements in senior care, and enhancing our state police but we MUST live within our means, prioritize programs and be balanced in our budget.”

“A portion of Gov. Shapiro’s new funding is dependent on new tax revenue from the legalization of recreational cannabis. But not only do I have concerns with how that impacts Pennsylvania children, I also believe that Pennsylvania knows it should not count on ‘sin tax’ revenue to fully cure a problem,” said Rep. Eric Davanzo (R-Westmoreland). “Slots and table games were pitched that way, and while there have been benefits, they fell way short of what was promised.”

“Gov. Josh Shapiro presented a budget proposal that would eventually bankrupt Pennsylvania. His $48.34 billion budget will cost hard-working taxpayers a fortune. More government spending equals higher taxes. I have supported growing our reserve funds to help address any future economic downturns,” said Rep. Leslie Rossi (R-Westmoreland). “This budget plan will deplete those fund within four years. In addition, the governor said that legalizing marijuana is his answer to bring in revenue. We are currently suffering from a drug addiction crisis. We cannot consider subjecting our families to something so irresponsible. I cannot support an unaffordable, misleading budget.”

“This new spending will ultimately deplete the state’s surplus and Rainy Day Fund, but when that account is empty in less than three years, we will be facing a fiscal calamity that can only be solved with a tax increase,” said Rep. Jill Cooper (R-Westmoreland). “During the last decade, the General Assembly strengthened those reserves, with the intent of making certain Pennsylvania is covered in the most difficult emergencies. But it was never intended to be the governor’s petty cash fund from which he can write check after check.”

Westmoreland County Republican Delegation 
Pennsylvania House of Representatives