By: David G. Greineder, IOM, ABC Pennsylvania Director of Government Affairs
On February 8, Gov. Wolf released his final budget proposal for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The $43 billion budget proposal is about $5 billion over last year. Not surprisingly, the governor is again proposing various policy initiatives, including increasing the minimum wage, setting a minimum teacher salary of $45,000, and legalizing recreational marijuana, to name a few. While there are no broad-based tax increases contained in the proposal, the increase over last year is said to be “paid-for” by using all the federal stimulus dollars.
As expected, Republican leaders have characterized the proposal as a non-starter. They believe spending down federal dollars to pay for one year’s worth of spending increases will lead to deficits in the out-years. Because the threat of a future recession is looming, Republicans are looking to craft a modest budget that protects taxpayers by balancing cost increases and program needs with growing the Rainy Day Fund.
Every year, the running joke in Harrisburg is the budget will be done “early.” It never happens, and is unlikely to happen this year, unless the campaign season re-districting maps consumes the attention of decision-makers. For now, the legislature is on break until the end of March, allowing time for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to hold hearings on the budget proposal.
As we look to the rest of this year, ABC of Pennsylvania will be collaborating with chapters to develop a new and fresh legislative agenda. We are looking for your input on what ABC should advocate for in Harrisburg. Knowing the margins will be tight, and we may still have a divided government, we need to be realistic in what we push for, but also be bold in our “wish list.” To that goal, here are some questions to ponder:
1. What are BIG IMPACT policy issues that ABC can LEAD and WIN on?
2. What do you want ABC to be KNOWN for?
3. What issues can be bipartisan and address industry challenges broadly?
4. What issues will energize our grassroots advocates?
5. How can we keep it simple?
If you have any brilliant ideas, please send them my way to firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, in February and March, ABC Keystone held regional meetings to discuss ABC’s advocacy programming and forecast where Pennsylvania is heading this election cycle.
If you would like to read the materials presented at those meetings, you can do so at www.abcpa.org.
Welcome to 2022!
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Posted March 17, 2022