Senator John DiSanto E-Newsletter

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DiSanto Opposes Massive Spending Increase in State Budget

I oppose the massive spending increases in the proposed 2022-23 state budget and voted against the General Appropriations Bill (Senate Bill 1100) in order to protect taxpayers.

While the Governor and many legislators are trying to portray this budget proposal as a modest increase, in fact spending is up nearly 11% to $45.2 billion, and the recurring demands mean in a few short years the state, when the federal pandemic money has run out, will be facing multi-billion dollar deficits that require big expenditure cuts or tax increases. The legislature should have passed a budget that provided appropriate support for education and human services while being sustainable over the long term.

While the overall growth of the budget is a concern, I highlight a new program that is a particularly egregious example of excessive government spending – the $125 million Whole Home Repairs Program that was designed by an avowed Democratic Socialist legislator from Philadelphia. If it ends up like the original bill, this program will give grants of up to $50,000 to certain homeowners and landlords for property improvements, creating more bureaucracy and market inefficiency.

This program is an insult to the low-income homeowner who has worked and saved for years to maintain their home and to the tax-paying family that won’t qualify because they just miss the income cutoff. Rather than creating new welfare programs, we should be using our one-time federal pandemic funds for existing public infrastructure needs, like roads and bridges, for which the Governor is pushing new taxes and tolls.

As part of the budget package, I did support the School Code (House Bill 1642), State-Related Universities Appropriations (Senate Bill 1284), Human Services Code (House Bill 1420), and amendments to the Tax Reform Code (House Bill 1342). All of the public schools in my district will be receiving significant funding increases intended to help them boost student achievement and enhance school safety, and financial support provided to the state-related universities will keep tuition affordable for our state residents. With this additional state subsidy, I expect public schools to do their part and not levy higher property taxes in 2023.

I had also championed the inclusion of provisions from my Senate Bill 347 in the Tax Reform Code.  My legislation eliminates a disadvantage faced by Pennsylvania businesses when competing with those in other states, giving them the benefit of the “like-kind” exchange provision in the Internal Revenue Code that allows for tax deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. Additionally, I applaud the historic, long overdue reduction of the state’s Corporate Net Income Tax, the second highest in the nation, which will be halved to 4.99% by 2031 to dramatically improve the state’s business climate and create more jobs for residents.

While there are certainly fiscally responsible and beneficial components of this budget package that I endorse, such as significant contributions to the state’s Rainy-Day Fund and Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, the overall budget will worsen the state’s structural overspending problem and grow the size and scope of state government, and I don’t want to burden future taxpayers with this debt.

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