Hearing demonstrates how conservative policies are hurting Pennsylvanians

PA is falling behind on education, infrastructure, and public health spending

HARRISBURG, June 13 – The House Democratic Policy Committee convened a hearing Monday morning on how the past three decades of conservative policies in Pennsylvania have impacted the middle- and lower-class. It was held in the Pennsylvania Capitol building at the direction of Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro.

“The Republican party has held the majority in both chambers for the better part of thirty years, controlling the legislative calendar and dictating which bills get sent to the governor,” said Chairman Bizzarro. “Their control has led Pennsylvania to the third-highest gas tax in the nation, stagnating wages for hard-working residents, and some of the highest opioid death rates and student debt rates.”

Monday’s hearing, titled “How Conservative Policies are Crushing the Middle Class,” featured testimony from Marc Stier, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Stier discussed how under Republican leadership in Pennsylvania, state spending has shrunk dramatically. This has led to Pennsylvania ranking in the bottom seven states in education funding, infrastructure quality, and public health spending. But Stier says that can all be changed with the budget surplus.

“The state is flush with cash, which gives us an opportunity to start reversing the trends of the last decade or more,” said Stier. “If this isn’t the time to ensure that every child in our K-12 schools has access to quality education, when will that time come? If federal American Rescue Plan funds doesn’t justify spending to help small businesses recover and families deal with high costs of housing, childcare, and gas, what would justify it? If not now, when?”

The topic of inflation was also discussed during Monday’s hearing, specifically what’s causing it. Chairman Bizzarro asked Stier’s expert opinion on the issue.

“There are a lot of causes of inflation right now. Obviously, the war in Ukraine has driven up food prices and driven up gas prices, there are supply chain issues, “said Stier. “Corporations are taking advantage of the tight supply to jack up their profits, and they were already high. They don’t need to increase prices, but they’re just doing it.”

“We heard from Mr. Stier that the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania legislature is out of touch with what Pennsylvanians want and need. We have the means to address the issues brought up during this hearing, and we must act now to distribute this funding that will benefit our friends and neighbors across the commonwealth,” said Bizzarro.

Monday’s hearing can be viewed in its entirety at this link. Stier’s testimony can be found at this link.

Information about this hearing and other House Democratic Policy hearings can be found at pahouse.com/policy.