HARRISBURG – State Sen. Elder Vogel, Jr. (R-47) issued the following statement on the 2023-24 state budget plan announced by Gov. Josh Shapiro today:
“I am looking forward to working with Gov. Shapiro and his administration going into this budget season. I think there is a lot of work to be done and we need to be very careful. Yes, we are at our strongest financial position in decades. However, the non-partisan Independent Fiscal Office projects a structural imbalance of $1.5 billion to more than $3 billion every year beginning next year. It is important to note that the spending level proposed in Gov. Shapiro’s plan is not sustainable in future years and would almost completely deplete the state’s Rainy Day Fund by 2027-28. His own acting Revenue Secretary has been warning us for years, while he was the Senate Appropriations Chairman, of the structural deficit and dangers of using the Rainy Day Fund as a piggy bank.
“While I have concerns with this proposal, some of the principles in Gov. Shapiro’s first budget do match the ideas announced by Senate Republican leaders last week, including workforce development, infrastructure advancements, safe communities, and mental/behavioral health supports.
“The governor’s call to transition State Police funding out of the Motor License Fund also achieves a similar aim to legislation Senate Republicans advanced last week. The questions are how we can achieve our shared goals – and how much is it going to cost?
“We need to create a budget that is not only balanced this year, but also sustainable in future years. We can’t gamble away Pennsylvania’s future. We need to work together to build a Pennsylvania that supports growing a strong economy and supports both industry and our workers.
“I am happy that the governor recognized the vital importance of agriculture and farmers in Pennsylvania. I am also happy to see a proposed increase to the Department of Agriculture operations budget. The governor’s mention of High Pathogenic Avian Flu was good. The fund that helps make whole those who lost their flock to high path is great.
“However, I am concerned with the $6 million cut to the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission. With the High Pathogenic Avian Flu ravaging the poultry industry and small flocks at homes across the commonwealth, and the potential threat of African swine flu, I don’t think this is the time to cut funding to a commission that is the linchpin of veterinary epidemic intelligence and vital to the maintenance and well-being of a modern animal industry. These types of diseases have potentially serious consequences for both animal and human health.”
CONTACT: Nate Clark email@example.com