Colonel Christopher Harris, Major Joanne Reed, Major George Bivens, Major Wayne Kline, and Ms. Brooke Mead of the Pennsylvania State Police testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on the staffing needs of the State Police, the functions of the State Police – such as background checks for gun purchases, aviation support, the Statewide Public Safety Radio System, and gaming enforcement. Additionally, House Republicans shared concerns with the creation of a new special fund, as proposed by the governor, to take all State Police funding offline, as well as the strain on the department in places like Philadelphia.
House Republicans welcome the change in messaging from the Shapiro administration and House Democrats. Policing is a noble profession worthy of our support.
PSP has been stretched thin due to the need to provide support and coverage for increasing incidents and violence in cities such as Aliquippa, Chester, and Philadelphia.
House Republicans support efforts to fully staff our State Police and replenish the ranks by funding new cadet classes.
PSP was agnostic when asked about the creation of the new special fund, as well as Democrat gun control policies.
Rep. Marcell asks for an update on PSP’s activities in Philadelphia and the challenges they face.
Deeper Dive – Offline Spending
Governor Shapiro has proposed the creation of the “Public Safety and Protection Fund,” to support the agency by removing PSP from the General Fund and redirecting those and other revenues to a single, offline line item appropriation with no transparency of spending.
Moving tax revenues out of the General Fund to a special fund could leave the State Police underfunded in future years if growth in the dedicated revenues does not meet the needs of the State Police.
The legislature needs to be able to respond to the changing needs of the PSP and this plan removes the legislature from that process.
House Republicans support having a larger conversation around funding for the State Police that doesn’t move their department into a shadow budget.
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