Pennsylvania’s GOP legislator has caved once again. Governor Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday that he will abandon his push for private school vouchers and instead line-item veto the $100 million voucher program that state Senate Republicans passed in their budget proposal last week, in order to close a deal with the state’s divided legislature.
Shapiro’s decision follows months of heated debate over the issue of private school vouchers, which conservative lawmakers have pushed for as a way to broaden school choice and education options. Democrats, however, opposed the vouchers as they believe it would draw away funding from public schools.
In a statement, Shapiro said he was unwilling to let the issue of vouchers bring the budget process to a standstill. He added that he has secured a commitment from House Democrats to consider additional education options, such as the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success program and tax breaks for companies that fund private school scholarships.
Statement from Pennsylvania Senate Republicans: “We negotiated in good faith and were eager to stand with Governor Shapiro on one of his priority campaign commitments – supporting school choice opportunities. Today, Governor Shapiro has decided to betray the good faith agreement… pic.twitter.com/aunQgeLcbZ
— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) July 6, 2023
In separate letters, Shapiro and House Majority Leader Matt Bradford (D., Montgomery) assured Republicans that House Democrats will seriously examine and consider the efficacy and constitutionality of any voucher proposal.
State Senate Republicans have made it clear that their support for the proposed budget was contingent on vouchers being included. Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) said any plan that didn’t include vouchers would have to have “a different number.” However, members of the House have expressed doubts about a plan that would require them to approve a budget with vouchers, with several Democrats noting their lack of trust in the governor.
With the governor’s line-item veto and continued support from House Democrats, the proposed budget can go forward without vouchers. The deal raises spending by about 5% over last year, with most of that new money going toward education — a priority for Democrats. The deal also does not include action on a number of other Democratic priorities, like a minimum wage increase and an LGBTQ nondiscrimination measure.
The event played out similar to what we saw in the previous year, the party undercutting candidates and cutting deals.
I want to be very clear about something. PA Republicans aren’t surprised Shapiro did this at all. They cut deals with him while knifing their own candidate last year
This is all theater
It’s how PA works https://t.co/A1wenV0crp
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 6, 2023
The GOP in PA is doing the exact opposite of what Republicans in North Carolina are doing.
In North Carolina, Republicans has gotten a super majority and they are passing bills, letting the Democrat Governor veto them only to later over turn the veto.