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Shapiro Aims Tax Break at Police Officers, Teachers, Nurses

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Josh Shapiro will propose a three-year incentive of up to $2,500 a year for newly certified teachers, police officers and nurses in pennsylvania when the Democrat unveils his budget plan on Tuesday, administration officials said.

The incentive is a tax credit designed to help address complaints from school boards, police departments and hospitals about the difficulty in filling critical positions in public safety, health and education, administration officials said.

Much of Shapiro’s upcoming budget proposal remains under wraps, and any new tax credit will require approval from the politically divided Legislature.

Under the proposal, the tax credit would apply to new certifications issued starting in 2023, and could be included on a newly certified worker’s tax return starting in 2024. The state would mail a check back to someone whose certification qualifies, administration officials said.

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Those eligible could receive the tax credit each year for the first three years after they get the certification from the state.

People who newly move to Pennsylvania with a state-recognized credential in one of those three fields would also be eligible for it, administration officials said.

The amount of the tax credit would be on a sliding scale, depending on how much someone earned, administration officials said.

They estimated that it could cost the state nearly $25 million, based on a three-year average of nearly 15,000 people a year getting certified in the eligible three professions. The state is currently operating on a $42.8 billion budget, and has about $11 billion in surplus cash in the bank, giving Shapiro a cushion to propose new spending priorities.

Police departments have seen applications drop dramatically over the past few years, Shapiro has said. The commission that oversees the training and certification of municipal police officers found more than 1,200 officer vacancies in a survey of just one-third of the state’s accredited law enforcement agencies last year.

The state’s largest teachers’ union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, has blamed a shortage of teachers on a steep drop in the number of college graduates entering the profession. It has asked the state to fund a plan to set minimum salaries at $60,000 a year for teachers, school counselors and nurses.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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