STATEMENT: On Governor Wolf’s 2021-22 Legislative Agenda

Marc Stier |

Harrisburg, PA — Statement on the governor’s newly released agenda by Marc Stier, Director, PA Budget and Policy Center

Legislative enactment of the agenda Governor Wolf announced today would be a huge step forward in meeting the needs of Pennsylvania workers and businesses that are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, while also ensuring a fast and inclusive economic recovery. Critical elements of his agenda include providing support to working people, especially those with low incomes; raising the minimum wage and investing in workforce training to help people move into new jobs; and providing support to small businesses damaged by the pandemic. Investments in public infrastructure, and especially in school buildings and broadband internet access, would overcome some of the deep inequities in public services that some of us have known about for years but the pandemic has revealed to all. Corporate tax reform would require large multinational corporations to pay their fair share, while reducing the unfair burden on local businesses.

The governor’s agenda also includes much-needed reforms in criminal justice and cannabis laws. And his proposals for government transparency and accountability and election reform would make government responsive to the people of the state rather than to special interests and corporate lobbyists.

While we we support all that is the governor’s agenda, there are critical immediate needs that are not included, especially for expanding access to housing. And much more needs to be done in many areas, from tax fairness, to education funding at all levels, to health care so Pennsylvania can be a commonwealth in which everyone can  thrive, no matter their race, gender, or status. We would also be remiss if we do not note, once again, that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, remain excluded from many benefits provided by the state government, even though so many of them have made important contributions to our economy—in many cases, for decades.

We look forward to the presentation of the governor’s budget next week with the hope that these issues, both long-term and short-term, will be addressed.