Is a tax break really enough to recruit police officers and teachers in our current environment?

March 17 – In the proposed 2023-24 Pennsylvania budget released last week from Governor Josh Shapiro, additional funding for about 400 new state troopers was included. 

But there are apparently more than 1,200 vacant positions in local municipal police departments. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll pointed out, “The takeaway is if the state now wants to fund 400 new state troopers, that’s great, but we’re already over 1,200 down at the local level. How are we going to fill all of these positions?” 

The proposed budget would also provide a tax credit of $2,500 for new police officers for three years as an incentive for people to join the force. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “What kills me is he says in here ‘we have to attract the best of the best and to what I believe for a long time is a noble profession and that is serving in law enforcement.’ Really Josh? Because your whole party has done nothing but denigrate the noble profession of law enforcement for the past five years at least, especially in the last three. It’s not money that’s going to be the solution. Oh here, let us break your legs and hand you crutches. Your $2,500 is not going to be enough to bring the best of the best. You have to change the perception and remind people it really is a noble profession. The vast majority of police sacrifice their lives to protect and serve, instead of this mythology that they’re a bunch of thugs out there just trying to murder certain kinds of people. You have created this, Democratic Party. You’ve helped to light this fire and keep it going and now you think you can save it with a little tax credit.” 

It’s the same with the shortage of teachers in the state and country. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “There are some real good teachers out there that have said you know what? I’m not going to get pushed around by these punks that are getting some shade by some of the school boards or I’m also not going to have to teach some of this crap that I don’t believe in in the first place.” 

Jansen added, “I just want to teach. I don’t want to be the psychologist or the pastor or the person trying to make really controversial calls on children and being imbibed with this whole gender issue. No, they want to teach.” 

Ryan said, “A small bunch of little activists have been the loud drum here and you’ve drummed people right out of the places that we need them the most.” 

Barkdoll agreed, “The finances alone are not the issue here. This $2,500 tax credit, and I think they’re making a similar proposal for teachers, you know in the grand scheme of things, that’s not going to be enough to entice someone to get into these jobs. Whether it’s on the teaching side or the police side, there’s all sorts of other structural issues that are deterring people from entering these professions. The bigger takeaway is we have a real problem in Pennsylvania. On the police side when we’re down that many officers, that is a huge problem.” 

In terms of teaching, there are 70 percent fewer people getting certified to become teachers in PA than they were 10 years ago. 

Barkdoll said, “Shapiro and various groups are saying there is a big tidal wave coming of teacher vacancies in Pennsylvania and they don’t have enough bodies to fill these jobs and there aren’t enough people entering programs in colleges to become licensed. They’re throwing out tax incentives. That’s not the issue. There are bigger problems they need to address to entice people to want to get into these kind of professions.”

Ryan said, “What a surprise. A Democrat wants to throw money at a problem.”