Saying Pennsylvania is in the midst of a workforce crisis, Gov. Josh Shapiro said he will propose a three-year incentive of up to $2,500 a year for newly certified teachers, police officers and nurses in his upcoming Budget Address next Tuesday.
“I’ll be proposing a new $2,500 personal income tax credit to hire new cops, teachers, and new nurses every year for at least the next three years,” Governor Shapiro told KYW Newsradio and KDKA this morning. “It’s going to help us put more teachers in the classroom, more nurses in the hospital, and more police officers and troopers in our communities.”
The incentive is a tax credit designed to help address complaints from school boards, police departments and hospitals about the growing difficulty in filling critical positions in public safety, health and education, administration officials said.
“The trend lines on all three of these are getting worse,” Shapiro said Friday during a regularly scheduled appearance on KDKA-FM in Pittsburgh. “So I think if we don’t act now, these numbers are just going to go up, and when I say ‘up’ I mean in a bad way.”
Much of Shapiro’s forthcoming budget proposal remains under wraps, and any new tax credit will require approval from the politically divided Legislature.
Under the proposal, the tax credit would apply to new certifications issued starting in 2023, and could be included on a newly certified worker’s tax return starting in 2024. The state would mail a check back to someone whose certification qualifies, administration officials said.
Those eligible could receive the tax credit each year for the first three years after they get the certification from the state.
People who newly move to Pennsylvania with a state-recognized credential in one of those three fields also would be eligible for it, administration officials said.
The amount of the tax credit would be on a sliding scale, depending on how much someone earned, administration officials said.
They estimated that it could cost the state almost $25 million, based on the three-year average of nearly 15,000 people a year getting certified in the eligible three professions. The state is currently operating on a $42.8 billion budget, and has about $11 billion in surplus cash in the bank, giving Shapiro a cushion to propose new spending priorities.
Police departments have seen applications drop dramatically over the past few years, Shapiro has said. The commission that oversees the training and certification of municipal police officers found more than 1,200 officer vacancies in a survey of just one-third of the state’s accredited law enforcement agencies last year.