Gov. Josh Shapiro may soon discover that, as President Harry Truman said, “the buck stops here.”

A new poll from the Commonwealth Foundation and Arc Insights found voters will hold Gov. Josh Shapiro responsible for the state budget impasse.

Fifty-five percent of voters said it is up to Shapiro to get the budget finalized, while just 14 percent say that is the job of Republicans in the legislature.

More than 9 in 10 (93 percent) of Pennsylvanians think it is important that elected officials reach a bipartisan agreement.

A solid majority of voters (57 percent) also say they want Shapiro to continue supporting scholarships for children attending the state’s worst-performing schools. Among Black voters, that number is 76 percent.

Shapiro had promised to support a voucher program both while campaigning and in hammering out a budget deal with state Senate Republicans, only to reverse his position under pressure from House Democrats and teachers unions, leading to the current budget stalemate.

The poll found 65 percent of voters believe Shapiro should honor his agreement, and more than 70 percent believe scholarships for kids to attend better schools should be expanded.

And 54 percent oppose cuts in funding to cyber charter schools.

For a majority of parents, this is a personal issue, with 56 percent saying that if finances were no concern, they would choose to send their kids to schools other than the public school to which they are assigned.

“Pennsylvanians are not only looking for Gov. Shapiro to return to the negotiating table, but they are also expecting him to take responsibility and step up as a leader to finalize a state budget that includes keeping his promise to help kids trapped in failing and unsafe schools,” said Commonwealth Foundation’s Senior Vice President Erik Telford.

After reversing his support for the PASS scholarship program negotiated with the state Senate, Shapiro used a July 6 press conference to shift the blame to the legislature. “It’s now the responsibility of the House and Senate to find a way to work together and iron out those details.”

“It is not too late for Gov. Shapiro to do the right thing and restore a vital lifeline to parents and children while rebuilding his credibility and proving he is a trustworthy leader. State lawmakers should listen to their voters and finish the job they were elected to do,” Telford said.

The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted July 14-16, 2023, and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Shapiro’s office did not immediately respond when asked to comment.


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