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New Poll Finds Voters Will Blame Shapiro for Budget Impasse

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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KAIL: The Death of a Budget Negotiation

In government, as in life, a person who cannot keep their word is a person not worth trusting.

During his campaign, Gov. Josh Shapiro promised the people of Pennsylvania many things – that he was an independent Democrat, not beholden to special interests; that he supported school choice for our students; and that his energy policy must protect jobs and lower consumer prices.

Six months into his administration, Gov. Shapiro has deceived the people of Pennsylvania – when it all unfolded during the negotiation process of the $45.55 billion budget.

Bottom line: The current budget impasse solely lies at Gov. Shapiro’s feet. All the while, he’s trying to deflect from his broken promises and poor governing by blaming Republicans.

Gov. Shapiro voiced his serious concerns regarding the energy tax known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) over 458 days ago and pledged, “Energy policy for me must pass the test of protecting jobs, lowering consumer prices and addressing climate change.”

Over a year later, Gov. Shapiro refuses to remove Pennsylvania from this massive $663 million energy tax, which he could have done on day one of his administration. This unconscionable tax will kill Pennsylvania jobs and quadruple electricity rates on working families who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Gov. Shapiro offered hope to the children of Pennsylvania who have been trapped in failing schools when he advocated for school choice on national news and declared that “every child of God” deserves a “quality education.”

Senate Republicans and Gov. Shapiro struck a budget deal which included funding for a lifeline to students trapped in the worst performing school districts through the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) Scholarship program.

Days later, Gov. Shapiro announced he would veto the PASS program, an initiative he campaigned for, breaking his promise and abandoning Pennsylvania’s children at the behest of special interest groups and radical Democrats.

It’s easy to state a conviction when it goes unopposed – but Gov. Shapiro has proven that at the first hint of a challenge, he will abandon his convictions and break his promises. Without conviction or guiding principles, the governor cannot be negotiated with in good faith.

So, where does it leave Pennsylvania when you have a governor who you cannot trust? It leaves Pennsylvania with missed opportunities and lost jobs, it leaves families with exorbitant taxes and crushing bills, and it leaves children in failing schools and without hope for a better future.

It is imperative we disrupt the status quo by fighting against a corrupt agenda and provide hope to the people of this great Commonwealth.

Republicans are more than ready to get a commonsense budget through the finish line. Are Gov. Shapiro and House Democrats?

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