There is apparently optimism that Pennsylvania will finish the budget by the first week in July 

June 19 — While the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is currently out of the Chamber for a week to celebrate Juneteenth, some officials in the Capitol seem to think the budget — which is due on June 30 — could be completed by the beginning of July. 

There’s optimism among a few legislators. 

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “I’m not optimistic, but I talked to a couple of folks this week who have talked to people who know, and supposedly there’s optimism that we will get there, but I just don’t see it. I don’t see how it happens.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “So let me get this straight. You’ve had plenty of time after the governor who’s got dreams of being in the White House, coming down the stairs and pitching everything possible in Pennsylvania with no real way to pay for it, the dreams of him. So you’ve got all the dollars ready to go here. Not only do you get a week on pause this week, then the budget’s due by the 30th, and when we start having late budgets, that’s affecting school districts, it’s affecting townships and counties here. So late budgets, bad ideas. Then you’re going to see some optimism on the week of the Fourth of July. So I’m paying you guys extra for the weekend around the 30th and then maybe holiday extra pay if you’re trying to put together a budget near or around the Fourth of July, that week in there. What on earth is going on? Why can’t we just have had this done a couple of weeks ago?”

Kauffman said, “Remember the governor puts out all these great proposals and then he kind of throws it all out and then he goes away, essentially. He’s not really in the mix, from what I hear. This is legislative leaders, they’re putting forth proposals in the House and in the Senate and talking to the microphones, but we haven’t heard a lot from Governor Shapiro on anything regarding the budget since he put out his budget proposal. He’s not in the mix.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “The only thing I’ve heard him say is the thing about the vouchers and the spending for schools, but you guys figure it out.”

Kauffman said, “That is a difficulty in this whole process, because he’s not in the mix.” 

Ryan asked, “Do you really think he should be though? I mean, okay, I put this out, and now I’ll leave it to the people that are in charge of making this stuff here. I don’t remember Tom Wolf being very involved in the process. I agree with you. You’re the leader of the state, and you can bring the parties together, and showing some sort of leadership would maybe get this thing done to the finish line. But does it really matter if he’s here or not?”

Kauffman said, “It’s funny because I was talking to somebody who’s been in it a little bit and we were talking and I hate to talk fondly about Ed Rendell, but if you remember Ed Rendell, former mayor of Philly, head of the DNC, and he was governor of Pennsylvania, for those of you who don’t know, back in let’s see, I believe he was elected in 2000 and then reelected in 2004 and he was one of those guys who, he didn’t get out of the mix. He was in the mud making it, he was slapping it together. He got dirty. He got dirty in the legislative process, in how you got things done. He was very effective in what he did. Nobody was scratching their head saying, what does Governor Ed Rendell think about this proposal? And I appreciated that, despite the fact that I disagreed with him a lot, most everything. I appreciate that, and that’s what we don’t know. This proposal coming out of the House, this proposal coming out of the Senate, so where do we stand on these proposals?”

Why is it that the budget doesn’t really seem to be on top of the list? 

Kauffman said, “In Harrisburg, we were supposed to be dealing with the budget, but we’re looking at all these shiny objects here and there, whatever pet project, social engineering idea that the Democrats have, that’s what’s on the agenda. So why you don’t see or hear a lot about the budget is because we really haven’t passed a general appropriations bill. Usually, by this time we’ve passed a general appropriations bill out of the House, and there are other budget bills that we’ve passed. We have not done that, and we’re just doing social engineering.”

Jansen said, “We’re going to see how we can add yet another category of counselors to our students’ lives through their coaches. Now the coaches are already great mental health proponents for our students through the sports and the teams. That’s all they need to be. They don’t need to be having curriculum and training from quote, unquote, experts on mental health who seem to be failing our children miserably right now in the way they want to counsel them. There’s this ethical principle, no dual relationships between counselors and their patients. Coaches have a tremendous relationship with students that the counseling world shouldn’t be brought into, because that’s where you can’t do good counseling, because those kids already have this other very close and strong relationship with their coaches that is good the way it is. They don’t need coaches to be their therapists.”

Kauffman said, “Of course, they want the standards to be done by the great Pennsylvania Department of Education, which, of course, does everything so well. We’ve seen how they just do a bang up job every single time.”