By Rob Kauffman
After campaigning for and agreeing to funding for a scholarship program to help students in the state’s lowest-performing schools, Gov. Josh Shapiro turned his back and slammed the door in the face of those struggling students and their families by eliminating $100 million for the program from the state budget.
The governor’s actions came after the state Senate returned to session Thursday and sent the 2023-24 General Appropriations bill to his desk. The governor signed the budget into law, but not before using his line-item veto power to zero out funding for the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) program.
The governor went back on his agreement with the Senate in vetoing this funding, but more importantly he went back on the promise he made to kids and their families who want nothing more than the opportunity for a better education. Rest assured I will continue to fight for these scholarships.
Please know the 2023-24 state budget process is far from over, as it actually consists of a series of bills. Only the one that lays out how much money taxpayers will be spending on things like education, welfare programs and public safety is completed.
“Code” bills (such as School Code, Tax Code, Fiscal Code) are necessary to direct HOW the money in the budget is going to be spent, and very little discussion or negotiation has occurred with any of these. Funding for state-related universities is also pending a final decision.