One month from today is the deadline for the PA budget – will it happen? 

May 30 – It seems like every year for the past few decades, really, Pennsylvania has missed the deadline to complete the budget. 

When that happens, it can affect all kinds of organizations waiting for funding. 

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said at the moment the issue is “the party in control of the House right now. They run the agenda. They run the calendar and seemingly are unconcerned about the looming budget deadline. One month from today is our Commonwealth budget deadline. We go back into session on Monday, but don’t forget, we have the Juneteenth week off, the entire week. So, just a little hiatus there as well from the budget talks. So, yeah, it is what we have as the current Democrat majority in the House.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM wondered, “Has there been any movement at all from some of these committees here? I’m hearing Waynesboro is going to jack up their school taxes 4% and you can be certain that Chambersburg is going to be doing the same thing here. Is there any indication of any kind of movement on these committees or anything that has to do with the budget process?”

Kauffman said, “So the first thing that would happen would be an appropriations bill would move in the House of Representatives. We start the budget process. That’s the process. That’s how it goes. As of yet, I don’t recall having voted on any budget bill in the House of Representatives. So that would be the first step to get the process going. Any step would be fantastic. When we’re not in session in Harrisburg, we can’t run stupid stuff out of the Judiciary. We can’t run ridiculous progressive ideas on the House floor. So hey, I mean, we’re doing less damage when we’re not in Harrisburg. But we do have that little budget thing. That is the only constitutional duty we have.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “And you’re skipping a whole week. Before the last week of intense pressure to get something.”

“Yes,” Kauffman confirmed. 

Ryan added, “Year after year after, decade after decade, it always goes down to the last minute and I think I have the day, acknowledge it, reflect on it, whatever. But understand and this is the first time this has ever happened as far as I can remember, taking an entire week off and the pressure cooker that is the budget situation here in Pennsylvania, and let’s go even bigger than this year. Why does it matter that you get a budget here? We’ve seen this thing drag on a little bit longer. Let’s have our week of Juneteenth off and so what? Who gets hurt with a late budget?”

Kauffman said, “As the budget drags on you find that pressure builds and these compromises are made and things get more bloated as it goes because they’re making deals to get people’s votes here and there. I’m not a big Tom Ridge fan. He was a governor back in the 90s. But they actually had budgets in April, and May, believe it or not, literally done whenever Tom Ridge was the chief executive and the legislature was run by Republicans. They were pretty decent budgets, from my recollection. I wasn’t in the legislature. But the reality is, now we’re going to the opposite end. You never know when we’re going to get a budget and we have this constitutional duty and I still believe that we should be following that.”

Jansen said, “I’m shocked. You mean they were done before the school districts had to make a decision?”

Kauffman said, “Isn’t it amazing? That is exactly what was done back in the day. You talk to former legislators who were there and they talk about the good old days whenever you had a budget done before the deadline. That’s what we should be doing all along, but when you look at the pregnant pauses that we’ve had in legislative action, because we don’t have legislators, they don’t have a majority, because they have to govern from the most progressive side so they can’t actually run a House unless they have their full complement. That’s where we’ve been all year is running the House as far to the left in the progressive realm as they can possibly do it. So they have to pause when they don’t have their full complement in the House.”