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Election showdown: Shapiro, Mastriano argue too many taxes, regulations in Pennsylvania

Yet, as different as Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano are, both sound frustrated with high taxes and too much bureaucracy holding back the

Published: October 21, 2022 5:33pm

Updated: October 24, 2022 6:08am

(The Center Square) -

The economy is the top concern for voters, and the nominees in Pennsylvania’s governor race know it.

Yet, as different as Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano are, both sound frustrated with high taxes and too much bureaucracy holding back the commonwealth’s economy.

While Democrat John Fetterman has run as a progressive-style candidate in the state’s U.S. Senate race, Shapiro sounds much more like a pro-business Democrat to attract voters.

“As governor, Josh will prioritize economic growth by cutting red tape, reducing taxes, and fostering innovation,” the Shapiro campaign said in an email. “Josh knows that economic growth leads to higher wages, a better standard of living, healthier communities, and safer streets – and he will aggressively focus on attracting new businesses to Pennsylvania and supporting businesses already here.”

The campaign noted Shapiro’s priorities are bringing new businesses to Pennsylvania and spurring innovation and manufacturing in the state, cutting bureaucracy and red tape, and cutting the corporate tax rate to 4% by 2025.

Shapiro also wants to retain Pennsylvania’s reputation in energy production.

Shapiro will embrace "Pennsylvania’s role as an energy powerhouse by supporting Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry and harnessing the commonwealth’s role as a national energy leader,” his campaign said.

Shapiro, however, has been vague about whether he would support or reject Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as The Center Square previously reported.

Mastriano, on the other hand, says he will “unshackle our energy sector” by lifting “Tom Wolf’s unreasonable regulations, taxes, and fees on these industries,” and leave RGGI “on day one,” according to his campaign site.

He also wants to lower the corporate net income tax rate to boost the economy and eliminate the state’s property tax “to get this burden off of hardworking Pennsylvania homeowners.” Mastriano has also pledged “to cut Pennsylvania's massive list of regulations by at least 55,000.”

Though Mastriano has not laid out a more-detailed economic plan like Shapiro, he has introduced some related bills in the state Senate. Mastriano has advocated for merging state departments to cut administrative costs, adding a 2% fee on international remittances to raise $52 million for property tax reductions, and protect coal-powered plants and expand natural gas development on state lands.

The next Pennsylvania governor will have significant influence over economic policies in the commonwealth. As The Center Square previously reported, some experts argue for the governor to take a more-proactive approach in encouraging economic growth and connecting economic leaders in the state from the bully pulpit.

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