As a working mom, I am extremely frustrated by the skyrocketing prices we are seeing across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I’m sure you share that frustration. From gas to groceries, everything has dramatically increased in price. Over 50% of states are seeing gas prices at $5 or more per gallon, and we have reached a true breaking point for families and their household budgets.

To address this growing issue, the House Majority Policy Committee has been holding hearings to examine the root causes of inflation and its impact on Pennsylvania residents. We are also seeking actionable state-level solutions. During these hearings, we heard from testifiers who are experts in their fields, and House Republicans are using the information shared to develop strategies to combat inflation.

During the hearings, testifiers continually expressed that burdensome government regulations and the ongoing worker shortage are significant factors influencing inflation. They also agreed that the high cost of energy is at the heart of inflation.

While energy costs are significantly impacted by global markets, the anti-energy policies of the Biden and Wolf administrations are also a driving force behind higher electric bills, gas bills, transportation fuel costs, and groceries. In May, prices rose by 8.6% year-over-year, increasing over the previous month’s 8.3% year-over-year increase. Energy prices went up 34.6% in May, which was the eighth month in a row above 25%. Retail prices for gasoline have doubled since President Joe Biden took office. As a result, food prices have also dramatically increased, so much so that in May 2022 they were 10.1% greater than prices in May 2021.

Testifiers cited another chief cause of inflation being the enormous amount of money that was injected into the economy by the federal government following the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Paying people to stay at home and not report to work, favoring large corporations over small, Main Street enterprises when picking which businesses could stay open, and overregulation at large are not a recipe for economic growth and stabilizing our labor markets.

Unfortunately, many experts testified that inflation will continue well into next year and beyond, and ultimately drag down our state budget. As a result, lawmakers have been urged to keep

spending in check, bolster the state’s Rainy Day Fund, remove regulatory barriers that hinder economic opportunity, and support policies that drive economic growth and encourage able-bodied individuals to return to the workforce. My strategy to battle inflation is to support policies to boost domestic energy production, including increasing refining capacity and expanding pipeline infrastructure. This will drive costs down for consumers, businesses, and the industry altogether. I will also advocate for the elimination of unnecessary regulations that hinder the supply chain, as we have continued to face problems there since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inflation is a complex, multi-faceted problem, but fortunately there are solutions available to relieve some of the burden. I will continue to listen to constituents in my district, as well as experts like those we heard from in testimony. I will work with my colleagues to adopt best practices and strategies as they become available. House Republicans are up for the challenge and will continue to stand up for taxpayers as we advance through this state budget season and beyond.

State Rep. Kate Klunk is a Republican representing Hanover area.

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