(WHTM) – The victory laps continue for Governor Shapiro who will be in the Midstate today touting all of the successes in the budget that’s less than a week old.
It was Universal School Breakfasts and Public School Funding yesterday, Agriculture Funding this morning at Penn State, and this afternoon it will be the Senior Rent Rebate and it will be a return visit for Shapiro.
abc27 was at the West Shore Senior Center in New Cumberland when Shapiro was there in May calling for an expansion of the Rebate Program. Today, Shapiro returns to sign a Ceremonial Bill proclaiming it a done deal.
The bill will increase the amount of the rebate from $650 to $1,000 a year and increase the income limit to get those rebates from $35,000 to $45,000 a year which will qualify around 175,000 more Pennsylvanians.
The program will also tie future increases to the rate of inflation and will not require lawmakers to sign off on it.
The Republican Treasurer applauded the program expansion and reminded everyone that the deadline to apply is December 31.
State coffers are full right now so more money for seniors and students is easy. But future Governors will be tied to these expanded programs, watchdogs like the Commonwealth Foundation warn, and be forced to raise taxes to pay for them or do the politically unthinkable and cut them.
“Politicians typically don’t think of, you know, three years down the road, think of the next election,” said Nate Benefield, Senior Vice President at the Commonwealth Foundation. “So we can spend all the money before the next election, make everyone happy, you know, buy votes with the spending the money.”
Shapiro says the state “budgeting in a fiscally responsible way” and when asked by abc27 if he’s worried about the state’s structural deficit and spending today, which may hamstring the future, Shapiro said “We can meet the needs of our seniors, of our children, and of other Pennsylvanians who look to state government for help. We can do both. We can both have a fiscally responsible budget and make critical investments. And this is critical.”