Governor Josh Shapiro is proposing a big increase for Pennsylvania’s schools in his first budget address to lawmakers with no hike in income or sales taxes. The budget plan for the 2023-24 fiscal year that starts July 1 boosts spending to $44.4 billion, an increase of almost 4%.
“This budget is packed with commonsense solutions to the problems the people of Pennsylvania face every single day,” said Governor Shapiro. “This budget lowers costs and cuts taxes for Pennsylvanians. It cuts red tape, speeds up permitting, and supports business. It strengthens our communities and makes them safer and more just. It protects our environment and invests in public health. And it starts the long process of making our education system more fair so that every child in this Commonwealth has a shot.”
Some of the highlights of the governor’s budget plan:
- $567 million increase for school districts, free breakfast for all students, free lunch for qualifying students, additional student mental health services.
- $103.8 million increase in spending for special education.
- $2500 tax credit for up to 3 years for new teachers, nurses, and police officers.
- Increasing property tax and rent rebates for the elderly and disabled. The maximum rebate would expand from $650 to $1,000, while the annual income eligibility cap would rise from $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters to $45,000 for both.
- Eliminate taxes of 11% on cell phone service.
- Increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.
- $16 million increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for SNAP benefits.
- Additional $100 million to improve highways and bridges.