The longer the process drags on the more pressure Pennsylvania lawmakers face. The creative ways the state has relied on to keep the government functioning are drying up.
As Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati recently told local reporters, “We are certainly going to see darker days ahead as the dollars dwindle down. To my knowledge, the responsible thing for the Treasurer to do is not be out borrowing more money for money we don’t have.”
In the interview with the press, Scarnati threw down the gauntlet, challenging the House to do something, anything. “Either cut the budget or fund the budget you passed,” he said. “It’s not a buffet.”
Scarnati is not alone in his frustration. The Senate and the Governor’s office are both growing increasingly frustrated with the House’s hardline approach to the budget negotiations. The House seems unwilling to accept the realities of the situation: That the votes simply don’t exist for what the House is proposing.
As Scarnati said, “I’m not a big spender, I’m not a tax-and-spend guy…but you’ve got to be reasonable.
“… you just can’t sit back and roll grenades in the room and say there’s $3 billion in savings. Show them and, when you got the votes for it, we’ll get it done.”
No need for surgery, we have this Band-Aid
The House isn’t simply stalling, or kicking the can down the road, its kicking the can off a cliff.
The state is on the verge of running out of money and has already received a $750 million loan from the Treasury just to buy the legislature a little more time. The stalemate, and inability to get its fiscal house in order also has Pennsylvania staring down a credit rating downgrade.
The Senate has a perfectly acceptable funding bill put forth already. In fact, an even more agreeable proposal was purportedly worked out behind closed doors earlier this summer.
But at some point leadership in the Republican controlled House of Representatives went rogue and broke off talks.
According to the latest reports, Republican leadership in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is considering several alternative proposals to fund the state’s 2017/2018 budget, proposals that largely rely on raiding money from other sources.
House Republicans proposed plans are more or less short-term fixes. Sadly, the proposed fixes rely on borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.