With Governor Josh Shapiro being given a prime spot at the Democratic National Convention this summer, will that spark the need to get the budget done? 

May 3 — Pennsylvania’s own Governor Josh Shapiro has been granted a rather prime time slot to speak at the Democratic National Convention this summer. 

Barack Obama also had that same speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention. 

Shapiro will likely want to demonstrate that he gets things done. Could the state budget actually be done by the time he takes the stage at the convention? 

PA Representative Paul Schemel said, “The budget is the most important thing that the legislature does all year. We have not seen any of the budget vehicles that usually would have come through in April, none of them. So I don’t know what they have in mind. We see that the Senate has just signaled that it might not be in session in June. Under the Constitution, we have to have the budget passed by the end of June. Now I’m sure the Senate will come back. They can come back very easily. They can change their schedule very easily. But I think what we’re seeing now is some of that negotiation between the two. Okay House if you’re not going to get your house in order and you’re not going to send a budget that’s responsible, we’re just not going to be here. We’re not going to be here to waste our time if you’re not going to be using the time successfully.”

There is a lot of spending on education. 

Schemel said, “We have money in the bank. That is our rainy day fund. A lot of that came from the federal money that we had. That’s what allows us to operate without raising taxes. We know Governor Shapiro wants to spend all of that money this year and next so that he can get stuff done on your dime and then after that, take flight to some other thing on a federal level, who knows what, and leave us with a tab for all of these new expenses. So be very mindful of that as we go into this budget negotiation. Whenever they say, oh, this won’t cost you anything because we have the money, that isn’t true. That is not true. Those are recurring expenses. Just because you use your savings to pay them in year one, how are you going to pay them in year two? You’re gonna pay them by dipping deeper into the taxpayer’s pocket.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I heard an astronomical number that was being looked for for mental health. It’s like $250 million is what these experts are saying we need because there’s not enough, there’s just not enough mental health personnel. I would like to argue no, we’re not doing mental health properly is more of an issue than the idea that there’s not enough mental health and that just throwing more money at it’s going to solve the problems.”

Schemel said, “Let’s talk about mental health spending in Pennsylvania for just a minute. So mental health is provided at the county level, largely by money that’s given to it by the state. Just this past week, I was speaking to a group of boroughs from across Franklin and Cumberland County and one of them asked about well, there’s not enough money for mental health. Okay, I mean, you can always make arguments that you can spend more on the state level, but look if the community really values whatever mental health spending is, so if the citizens of Franklin County say we need more services, the county commissioners can tax people to do that. They run the mental health system. If that is that important and there is that much swell and need and that’s being demonstrated from the taxpayers of Franklin County that we need to have it, don’t always point the finger at the state and say you need to send us more when you hold the power to raise taxes and do it yourself. People always want someone else to pay for all the great things. If it’s that valuable and I’m not saying that it is or is not, but if it is that valuable and that needed, pay for it, and you can pay for it. The county commissioners can raise taxes and pay for it. So all of you who say we need more of it, why don’t you argue to your county commissioners to raise taxes? We think this is valuable. If it’s that valuable, pay for it.”