By: Mike Manzo

I told our AdComm team that I would be happy to reprise last year’s budget address playlist for Governor Shapiro’s first budget.  As many of you know, my brain is pretty much a constant jukebox that I cannot shut off.  Words and phrases people mutter in everyday conversations immediately remind me of song lyrics.  So when Shapiro’s speech ended, the first thought in my head was “that was longer than the Lynyrd Skynyrd’s live version of Freebird.” That performance from Atlanta in 1976 clocked in at just under fourteen minutes.  But I digress. 

Now that I have dusted off my notes from March, let’s dive in.  First off, Shapiro gave a huge nod to the two groundbreaking women of the General Assembly and naturally all I can hear is “who run the world? Girls!”  Beyonce clocks in first on the playlist, as she probably should. 

Shapiro then immediately dove into the fiscal health of the state, which should have triggered “Money” by Pink Floyd, but yet somehow the way he spoke of our surplus and his plans to use some of it reminded me more of Cyndi Lauper’s “Money Changes Everything.”  Because yeah, it kinda does, at least when crafting a spending plan. 

The governor then spent some time talking about a big expansion of the property tax and rent rebate program, which for some reason got me thinking about Living Colour’s “Open Letter to a Landlord”, which might be a bit more about predatory landlords but hey, it doesn’t always make perfect sense. 

Shapiro’s riff on eliminating bureaucracy and reforming the permitting process had me thinking that what he needs is a girl with a short skirt and a long jacket, who uses a machete to cut through red tape. Thank you, Cake. 

Minimum wage discussion?  Well, that was a no-brainer.  All we heard was Blake Shelton’s song by the same name.  Some of these are way too easy. 

Now to the truly obscure moment when the governor was outlining his plans to bolster environmental protection, and all I can hear is Rush’s Geddy Lee reminding us that “there’s no swimming in the heavy water, no singing in the acid rain.” Distant Early Warning.  You’re welcome. 

As his speech came to a close, Shapiro focused on education, but it was much more than that.  He talked about workforce, nurses, firefighters and vocational training.  If you listen close you could hear The Call’s “Let the Day Begin,” a glorious ode to the teachers in the crowded rooms, the drivers at the wheel, the doctors and their healing works, and the workers in the fields.   

Overall, Shapiro’s first budget preached unity, bipartisan solutions and working together.  He could have been exited very easily to Kenny Chesney asking us all to “Get Along.”  Which wouldn’t be a bad thing. 

Listen to our 2023-2024 Budget Playlist