HARRISBURG - Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-Dillsburg) explains in the following statement why she could not support the 2022-23 state budget, signed by the governor, as the wins came with far too steep of a price tag for Pennsylvania taxpayers:
“Unfortunately, any gain in this year’s state budget was eclipsed by massive spending increases that are not only irresponsible, but unsustainable. Pennsylvanians are getting hammered by record inflation caused by relentless federal overspending. Just last month the House Republican Policy Committee hosted a hearing on inflation where experts explained that, while states don’t have the ability to raise interest rates or control federal spending, they do have the ability to protect Pennsylvania families by controlling state spending. This seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
“The 2.9% year-over-year spending increase is factually inaccurate. The 2022-23 budget spends $42.8 billion (excluding the $2.44 billion injected from one-time federal sources,) and is in fact, an 8.8% increase from last year’s $39.5 billion budget ($38.6 enacted plus a supplemental). Last year, Pennsylvania’s budget soared by 8.8% as well, contrary to claims of just a 3.4% increase. This irresponsible budget positions the state for a multi-billion deficit in less than two years.
“Given last year’s generous increases in budget line-items, the record inflation we’re experiencing and the Independent Fiscal Office’s (IFO) projections, the Legislature had a responsibility to pass a sustainable budget that didn’t compromise the Commonwealth’s financial security.
“Worse, this year’s budget establishes and expands a plethora of programs that positions the government, yet again, to pick winners and losers. The Film Production Tax Credit cap increases by more than 300%, a taxpayer-funded perk not available to average Pennsylvania businesses. Wealthy waterfront developers get their tax credits increased by almost 50%. There’s a new tax credit for Airport Land Development Zones, a new non-profit security grant program, a new $2.3 million appropriation for Penn State’s business incubator and a new $125 million Whole Home Repairs grant program for certain homeowners and landlords, which is one of the worst newly created overreaches of government. But wait, there’s more, ‘accredited’ zoos receive a 25% increase, corporate health systems receive another $2.5 million unfair competitive advantage over independent practitioners for their primary health care practitioner programs, a new business assistance program (specifically for the historically disadvantaged) was added to numerous similar programs already in existence, a new gun violence investigation and prosecution grant program, a new arts and culture recovery grant program, additional money allocated to expand biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life science research, a new funding program for greenways, recreational trails and other natural recreational facilities in state parks and forests, and so much more.
“Pennsylvanians are struggling with skyrocketing grocery bills, $5-a-gallon gas and looming, back-breaking energy bills while the Legislature voted to dole out billions of tax dollars for new exclusive programs, pet projects and corporate welfare initiatives favoring one business over another. While there are laudable components in the budget package, such as a path to Corporate Net Income Tax reductions, increases in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program – giving more parents an educational choice – and substantial contributions to the Rainy Day Fund, this year’s budget grows the scope and size of government at record levels and is simply unacceptable.”
Representative Dawn Keefer
92nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross