HARRISBURG – Gov. Josh Shapiro yesterday outlined his proposed 2023-24 budget of $45.8 billion to a joint session of the General Assembly, a 6% hike over the previous budget. Rep. Dave Zimmerman (R-Lancaster) issued the following statement on the proposal:
“I was encouraged that he mentioned agriculture as one of his focus points, having sat through all eight-years of former Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget addresses with the word ‘agriculture’ not being mentioned a single time.
“The importance of Lancaster County to our nation’s food supply is critical. Of the 500,000 cows in Pennsylvania, roughly 100,000 of them are in Lancaster County, and two-thirds of Pennsylvania’s poultry are located here.
“Gov. Shapiro also mentioned increasing funding to fight diseases that attack our food supply. If you are wondering how eggs got so expensive, a recent bout of Avian Flu resulted in well over 100,000 of chickens being destroyed for consumer protection – a devastating economic event for our poultry farms.
“With so many of our Lancaster County dairy farms having to shut-down because it costs more to keep the cows than they can make selling dairy products, many farmers have turned their farms from dairy to produce. As a result, our farmers sell directly to major supermarkets and consumers, making our county one of the leaders in farm-to-table food.
“What concerns me about Shapiro’s budget proposal is it spends more than our treasury has available. I would like many of the agriculture items he proposed to come to fruition, but not at the cost of spending all of our reserves and the Rainy Day fund, which through responsible Republican budgeting during the Wolf years we have grown to $5 billion. Shapiro also includes revenue for recreational marijuana, which hasn’t been approved by either the House or the Senate, and I don’t see it happening regardless. So that revenue is wishful thinking.
“While he was Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Shapiro said he had found $3 billion in Medicaid fraud. With the power he now has as governor, I would like to see the fraud and waste rooted out before choosing to spend our emergency reserves or raising taxes on hard-working Pennsylvanians.”
Representative Dave Zimmerman
99th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner