July 13 – The Pennsylvania budget for 2024 should have been decided by June 30. As of now, we still don’t have anything truly solid.
Both the Senate and House passed a budget with very preliminary numbers, but prior to the passage, Governor Josh Shapiro made promises from opposite sides of the fence.
While in the Republican-controlled Senate, Shapiro said he would support a $100 million addition for a school voucher program where students in the lowest performing 15 percent of schools in PA would have scholarships to be used for schools of their choice.
It would be the first time anything like this happened in PA.
But by the time it got to the House, Shapiro flip flopped. He said if the Democrat-controlled House would pass the budget, he would line-item veto the voucher program since the majority of Democrats don’t support it.
So where do we stand now?
Pretty much exactly where we have been.
PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “The governor is attempting to pass off responsibility to other parties, specifically the Republican Senate. But there was an agreement. I don’t care what anyone says. We know there was an agreement. It’s at a stalemate. It seems to me to be a game of chicken.”
There are still bills that need to be decided on in order to complete the budget and the Senate is in recess until September.
Kauffman said, “Because the majority controls the legislative schedule and when we go into session. The House did one singular bill, but there are half a dozen bills left. The Senate has acknowledged that. They said to the House Democratic Leader, hey, where are those other bills? We’re not coming into session to sign this general appropriations bill until you all send us the other bills that we need to complete this process. The governor needs to be in the game. He is the one who put together this budget plan, negotiated it with Senate Republicans and it seems as though he indicated that he would work on the House Democrats to bring them along. He was the chief negotiator as the head of the Democrat Party in Pennsylvania. So it doesn’t look good at the moment for this stalemate to end.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “This all is on the governor. This is all the governor. You’ve got the leader of the band right now who’s letting down the schools and school choice, which has nothing to do with taking any money away from public schools. This is on the governor. It’s appropriate that he would endorse President Biden and his incompetence if this is the way he’s leading the state.”