The lack of PA budget also means a whole lot of extra money is being spent

July 2 – Pennsylvania is now two days late in agreeing on a budget. 

Legislators are apparently planning to buckle down this weekend to crunch numbers, but what does that mean to the pocketbooks of the people in the commonwealth? 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “We’re hearing nothing about this budget process. The General Assembly was very busy yesterday. If you look at the roll call, there were a number of other (discussions) ranging from policy things that were passed to commemorating Smokey the Bear’s 80th birthday yesterday. I mean, so they’re in there. There’s a lot going on, but nothing about the budget, and presumably there’s leadership from the House and the Senate and liaisons with the governor’s office that are negotiating. But it’s remarkable to me that you’re not seeing any progress reports. We know everyone is in session through Wednesday, and then they’re off for the Fourth of July, and then the Senate, they’ve declared these special sessions for next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To me, is that a signal that the Senate believes there’s going to be something on the floor to adopt by the weekend? But like we’ve seen in prior years, I mean, school districts, municipalities, agencies, they’ll survive this if this goes on for a couple weeks, but if this starts to drag on like we’ve seen in prior years, it goes to a tipping point where it really starts to create some pain and problems for these various entities.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Scanning yesterday for interviews given by some of the players in Harrisburg, it was funny. The predictions were all over the place. You had some predicting this could be done as early as July 4. I think that was an outlier. There’s Seth Grove who doesn’t think this could be done before September. There’s the majority leader in appropriations in the House who thinks it will be done in a few weeks. They both seem to indicate it would be better than last year, when it went all the way to December. But again, this is all over the place, and they’ve done a couple of little things with appropriations, but nothing in the controversial areas like education.”

Barkdoll said, “We’ve talked so much about this process and how flawed it is with school districts and their budgets and not knowing what they’re getting from the state. Yet it’s strictly enforced that the school districts have to have their budgets done by June 30. But yet the state, it’s what I would call a soft deadline for them. Year after year, they blow past that deadline with no consequences. If it takes them a few weeks, a few months, we saw that in Governor Wolf’s first year it went into the following year. Everyone is just kind of waiting and holding the bag. I mean, the system is so flawed in that respect.”