Gov. Josh Shapiro will deliver his highly anticipated first budget address tomorrow, March 7. While few details of the forthcoming plan have emerged, he has expressed a commitment to economic development and education funding. During a visit to Pittsburgh’s Astrobotic’s headquarters last week, the governor said he will propose a 50 percent increase to the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program that funds university research to modernize operations at factories throughout Pennsylvania, citing the cutting-edge research and job creation companies like Astrobotic generates. He also said he wants to boost funding by 25 percent for computer science and STEM education through the PA Smart Program. The Governor is also expected to propose a new tax credit to encourage Pennsylvanians to pursue careers as teachers, police officers, and nurses.
In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer reflecting on his first few months in office, Gov. Shapiro said that in a break from many governors of the past he is working to build consensus with lawmakers on issues before he unveils them as policy goals. He also spoke broadly about the top priorities he’ll lay out in the budget – saying he’ll increase access to mental health professionals in Pennsylvania schools. Speaking broadly on the topic of education funding, Gov. Shapiro said that it will likely be a few years until he and lawmakers can determine a solution to address the Commonwealth Court’s recent landmark decision that Pennsylvania’s current school funding system is inequitable and unconstitutional.