What does Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget pay for?
Every kid should have access to a healthy, nutritious meal — and no kid should be afraid of the stigma that can be associated with free or reduced-priced programs.
Governor Shapiro’s budget includes $38.536 million to provide universal free breakfast for 1.7 million Pennsylvania kids — and covers the full cost of lunch for the 22,000 Pennsylvania kids currently eligible for reduced-price lunches.
Governor Shapiro’s budget proposes an expansion to the current Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program — and provides much needed relief to Pennsylvania’s older residents living at home.
This budget proposes:
- Increasing the income cap for homeowners from $35,000 to $45,000.
- Increasing the income cap for renters from $15,000 to $45,000 to match the cap for homeowners.
Allowing the maximum income threshold to grow with inflation beginning in 2024.
- Increasing the rebate caps to a maximum rebate of $1,000 from the current cap of $650.
- All of these changes would allow an additional 173,000 individuals to receive assistance, while increasing assistance to the 398,000 individuals that already benefit from the program.
The PSP Fund will reduce the reliance on the Motor Vehicle Fund while sustainably funding the Pennsylvania State Police — unencumbering more money for road and bridge projects while maximizing federal match needs for localized projects through the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
This proposal reduces transfers from the Motor License Fund for PSP by $100 million each year until there is no more reliance in Fiscal Year 2027 – 28. This budget also proposes transferring $400 million to the Public Safety and Protection Fund, freeing up $1.5 billion additional dollars over the next five years for road and bridge projects.
In addition, Governor Shapiro is proposing to fund:
- Four new trooper cadet classes in 2023-23, training 384 troopers.
- An additional $13 million to begin a standard replacement cycle of high mileage trooper vehicles.
- $2.827 million to replace radio systems that are no longer maintained by the network.
Governor Shapiro is proposing significant new mental health investments for staffing, community partnerships, and innovative programs in the space.
His budget creates a sustainable funding source to ensure the 988 hotline, where students can talk to trained professionals about their challenges, has more support and are always staffed. So when people need help, there’s someone there to answer the phone.
The School-Based Mental Health Supports Block Grant will provide $100 million in targeted funding to connect students and staff to mental health services — and ensure a pipeline of trains school-based mental health professionals in the future.
In addition to funding mental health support directly in our kids’ schools, Governor Shapiro is proposing $20 million for the restoration of a portion of the county mental health base funding to increase support to the spectrum of community-based mental health services counties fund. He’s also calling for $4 million to expand diversion and discharge programs for individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system, and $200,000 in state funding to support mental health and safety initiatives for farmers.
All students deserve to have safe learning environments, free from lead, asbestos, and other detrimental environmental issues. Research shows that there is no safe threshold for lead exposure, yet it often exists in paint, plumbing, soil, and other familiar sources.
Children and those with maturing brains are most at risk of lead exposure, which, even at a low level, can cause long-term or permanent cognitive difficulties affecting a child’s ability to pay attention and academic achievement.
Governor Shapiro’s budget expands on the work the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and PENNVEST does by providing an investment of $100 million for matching grants for school environmental repairs and improvements.
By abating or remediating environmental hazards in schools, more children will have the opportunity to grow and learn in healthy environments.
Governor Shapiro is proposing $23.8 million to build partnerships between Career and Technical Education (CTE) and industries, trades and entities that need workers from those programs.
Within that $23.8 million, Governor Shapiro is proposing:
- $3.3 million (60%) increase for CTE equipment purchases.
- $4 million increase to fully fund the CTE subsidy.
- $5 million (25%) increase CTE funding for expansion of or establishment of new programs to align to priority-occupations.
- $2 million for establishing a state-level Industry in the School program to partner trade and industrial professionals with teachers to bring them into the classroom.
- $3 million (43%) increase in L&I’s apprenticeship program to $10 million.
- $3.5 million for PA Schools-to-Work program to create partnerships between employers, trades and CTEs for career pathways.
- $3 million to DCED to provide funding for the current Pre-Apprenticeship program.
To attract new teachers, nurses, and cops, Governor Shapiro is going to invest an estimated $24.77 million in job retention and recruitment efforts.
Current residents that either acquire a license or certification in these fields after January 2023, or individuals that move into Pennsylvania with a Pennsylvania-recognized credential in these fields, will be eligible for a refundable tax credit up to $2,500 a year for three years. This will be accomplished through the filing of a Personal Income Tax return, to avoid the extra burden in applying for funding.
Pennsylvania is currently one of two states that does not dedicate state-level funding for our public defenders — and that’s not a list we want to be on.
For the first time, Governor Shapiro’s budget proposes to change that by investing $10 million a year through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee.