Key Points from Senate Budget Hearings with Department of Health, Department of Revenue, Governor’s Budget Office

HARRISBURG – Serious concerns about Gov. Josh Shapiro’s unrealistic spending and revenue projections were highlighted during the Senate Appropriations Committee’s final day of hearings examining the proposed 2024-25 state budget.

Department of Revenue and Governor’s Budget Office

Gov. Shapiro’s budget proposal totals more than $48.3 billion. His plan would increase state spending by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1% above the current year’s budget.

Using reasonable projections, the non-partisan Independent Fiscal Office this week reported a $24 billion gap between Shapiro’s spending plans and the revenue the state expects to collect over the next five years. These projections indicate it will be all but impossible to balance budgets in the next five years without deep spending cuts and massive tax increases.

Committee members raised concerns about the elimination of the Rainy Day Fund, long-term spending that is not included in the governor’s long-term planning, and revenue estimates that are unlikely to be achieved.

Full Hearing

Sen. Scott Martin on budget process transparency, the governor’s significant change in budget approach, major initiatives not included in the governor’s budget address, the impact of skill games on Lottery revenue, taxes improperly applied to volunteer fire companies, and more

Video Highlights

The proposal to eliminate the Rainy Day Fund over the next several years raised serious concerns.

Although the Shapiro administration voted in favor of spending $7 billion over the next several years for K-12 education, these increases are not reflected in Gov. Shapiro’s long-term budget outlook.

Serious questions were raised about the Shapiro administration downplaying future expenses.

The Shapiro administration has not embraced all the tenets of performance-based budgeting.

Concerns were raised regarding unused pandemic relief dollars for unemployment benefits and money potentially being sent back to the federal government.

An update was provided on the Office of Administration data loss that affected several key state agencies earlier this year.

Changes to the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund were questioned.

Department of Health

As with other departments, the Department of Health budget shows level funding over five years, denying legislators the information to accurately assess the ultimate impact on taxpayers.

Gov. Shapiro proposed spending $4 million to pay the medical debt of certain Pennsylvania residents. Members pressed Acting Sec. Dr. Debra Bogen for details on how funding will be distributed, and any additional staffing needed.

Committee members sought an explanation for why $13.8 million allocated in 2022-23 was still unused, and how $42 million in tobacco settlement funds for health research would be spent.

Full Hearing

Sen. Martin on delays on releasing pediatric cancer funds, oversight of Department of Health spending, bureaucratic changes to medical marijuana regulations, and more

Video Highlights

Concerns were raised about Gov. Shapiro’s unrealistic budget projections in future years.

Questions were posed about unspent funds from previous years and how this funding could be utilized to help Pennsylvanians.

The Shapiro administration’s plan to allocate taxpayer dollars to eliminate private medical debt was scrutinized.

Providers have raised concerns about nursing home staffing issues, ratios and regulations.

The use of fireworks tax revenue to support EMS providers was discussed.

The department’s efforts to make sure adequate resources are available for Alzheimer’s and Lyme disease were both explored.

Funding supported by Senate Republicans to expand Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner programs was highlighted.

An update was provided on the use of tobacco settlement funds and the effectiveness of tobacco cessation programs.

You can find recaps and video from every Senate budget hearing at


CONTACT: Jason Thompson

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