HARRISBURG, PA: Today, Senate Democrats and House Democrats held a joint press conference to respond to Governor Shapiro’s Budget Address. Senate Democrats are pleased with a commonsense budget that invests in the future of Pennsylvania, and are excited to continue the negotiation process throughout the spring.
The Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus has expressed unity in a few key priorities for Pennsylvania: education, workforce development, gun violence prevention, housing, seniors, and healthcare, including mental healthcare. This budget invests seriously in all these core areas responsibly both immediately and long-term.
“Governor Shapiro has put forth a thoughtful, reasonable, and doable budget,” said Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “This budget prioritizes our children, our educators, our workforce, our small businesses, and our seniors. This is a solid plan to move Pennsylvania forward, and I look forward to bipartisan cooperation with the Senate Republican Caucus as we go into hearings in the coming weeks.”
Senate Democrats have worked tirelessly to introduce and pass bills aimed at solving many of the problems this budget seeks to address. These include bills intended to fully fund public education and solving the teacher shortage crisis.
Senate Democrats have also fought for increased investments in community-based antiviolence programs. The Democratic caucus was proud to champion Senator Nikil Saval’s Whole Home Repairs program, an investment in Pennsylvania’s aging and inaccessible housing stock. Additionally, the Democratic caucus has also long called for investments in protecting our environment, which would create good-paying green jobs throughout the commonwealth. The Women’s Health Caucus has fought for resources to address maternal health outcomes and mortality, especially among Black and brown women. This budget takes logical, intentional steps in each of these areas, supporting Democrats’ work and priorities.
“The governor has said in meetings prior to today’s address that he is looking for a new spirit of collaboration in putting together the state budget,” said Appropriations Chair Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia. “My colleagues and I welcome that new energy and are confident we will work together to accomplish many impactful things for Pennsylvanians in the 7th District and across the commonwealth with this budget.”
Senate Democrats are especially excited about Governor Shapiro’s calls for a $15/hour minimum wage and adult-use recreational cannabis. Both of these measures would immediately boost the economy of Pennsylvania, putting money directly in the pockets of working families, small businesses, and government coffers. Senator Tina Tartaglione and Senator Art Haywood have long called for a livable minimum wage; Pennsylvania’s $7.25/hour minimum wage is lower than that in every neighboring state.
“Governor Shapiro’s proposal offers us an opportunity to move Pennsylvania forward and come to a consensus on key issues,” said Senator Judy Schwank of Reading. “The proposed investments in public safety, workforce development and education are pragmatic and will deliver real results for the people of this Commonwealth. Working through the budget is always a long process, but I believe today’s proposal is a very promising start point.”
Video footage of the press conference is available for viewing at PASenate.com/video. Downloadable footage is available upon request.