Feb. 06, 2024

HARRISBURG - Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington) issued the below statement following Tuesday’s budget address, when a wind of irony breezed through the Capitol Rotunda and roughly two-dozen House members were forced to stand because there weren’t enough chairs. The event was hosted in the Rotunda as delayed repairs to the ceiling in the House Chamber have been ongoing.

“The poor planning and miscounting of chairs on the part of House Democrat leaders is not unlike Gov. Josh Shapiro’s take on our appropriations budget: Just make a bunch of promises, don’t worry too much about whether you can deliver and see what happens. That was the exact context of Gov. Shapiro’s budget address.

“Sure, the governor is a charismatic speaker and has ambitious goals. But we are now where we were a year ago, and last year’s budget was passed nearly six months late. It’s great to be ambitious, but both the General Assembly and the administration have to work quicker and more deliberately if we are going pass a fiscally sound budget on time, while still meeting Pennsylvania’s needs.

“Some of Gov. Shapiro’s plans have merit, specifically in regard to education, where we know we have to fund things differently. I certainly share his goals to make certain that all children have the same opportunities despite their ZIP codes and that college is an affordable option for every young adult. But fiscal responsibility cannot take a back seat to our spending priorities.

“For a number of years, because of effective and disciplined financial planning, the Commonwealth has saved budgetary reserves and a healthy Rainy Day Fund, both of which equate to roughly $16 billion. But like our personal savings accounts, those funds accrue slowly and are not necessarily a recurring source of income. If we spend them on recurring expenses, we are only digging ourselves into a financial hole.

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I look forward to working through the challenges during the next few months. While Pennsylvanians expect efficient government services such as quality education and safe neighborhoods, they also expect the funds they send to Harrisburg to be managed responsibly. We can do both.”

Representative Natalie Mihalek
40th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives