Bucks County State Representative Brian Munroe (D-144) introduced the bill in May in response to a state-wide staffing crisis being experienced in these professions.
“I think the police, nursing and teaching are cornerstones of a well-functioning society. Teaching, especially,” Munroe said.
According to the bill’s co-sponsorship memo, one in four nursing jobs in the Commonwealth are unfilled, municipalities need at least 1,200 more police officers, and many public schools are having a hard time filling teaching positions.
Individuals hired for these positions will have the opportunity to claim up to a $2500 tax credit through 2028 if the bill clears the Senate. The proposed law would extend the same tax credit to job seekers choosing to move to Pennsylvania to fill these specific vacancies.
The bill is an important facet of Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal that he hopes will serve to draw applicants to fill these important jobs.
A former law enforcement official, Munroe has spent time talking with local police, as well as with teachers and nurses.
In addition to the current low unemployment rate that translates into fewer job applicants, Monroe attributes a large part of the staffing shortage to Covid-19.
“When you look at what nurses went through, physically, psychologically, you know, because nobody can dispute that they were on the front lines. The same thing with teachers. Teachers had to adjust to virtual learning. It was very difficult on them,” said Munroe. “And the same thing with police. Police couldn’t take off. They had to go in during the height of the pandemic.”
Rep. Craig Staats was the only Republican in Bucks County to vote no.