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Stopgap Budget Proposal Puts People Above Politics
I recently had an opportunity to speak with service providers throughout Lancaster County regarding the impact of the current budget impasse in Harrisburg, and I share many of their concerns about how the situation could affect the most vulnerable members of our local communities, including children in the foster care system, individuals with intellectual disabilities and victims of domestic abuse. While many providers have made tremendous sacrifices to keep their doors open, a continued stalemate could cause many of these services to be curtailed or shuttered, which is wholly unacceptable.
In addition to hurting service providers and the citizens who rely on these services, many schools throughout the state will be on the brink of severe financial distress if the situation is not resolved in the next several weeks. Regardless of any individualís political views, we should all be able to agree that children and people in need should not be placed in jeopardy for the sake of any ideological debate.
In June, I supported passage of a budget plan that would have funded our schools and essential services without asking state residents to pay higher taxes. Despite finding common ground on more than two-thirds of line items in the budget, Governor Wolf scrapped the entire budget plan because it did not meet his demand for higher taxes.
Earlier this month, I joined lawmakers in passing a stopgap spending plan that would get funding flowing to our schools and service providers. I am deeply disappointed that the governor has given every indication that he will reject this plan as well in order to preserve his perceived political leverage in the ongoing budget debate.
The state certainly has not stopped collecting taxes during this impasse. It is unconscionable that hardworking Pennsylvania families are not seeing the benefit of their tax dollars due solely to political gamesmanship from Governor Wolf.
While I share the governorís desire to resolve the situation by reaching a comprehensive budget agreement, we cannot leave our schools and social services twisting in the wind if we are unable to find a compromise. Protecting our most vulnerable citizens should be our primary concern. As work continues on a budget deal, it is far past time for the governor to put the wellbeing of people ahead of politics and agree to fund the services people rely on most.
I enjoyed speaking with numerous local residents during the Lancaster County 50Plus Expo at Spooky Nook Sports Complex. I joined State Reps. Mindy Fee and Brett Miller to offer an informational booth at the expo to highlight programs and services available to older Pennsylvanians.
New Website Feature Highlights Latest Budget News
In order to keep local residents informed about the budget process, I recently launched a new resource on my website to highlight the latest developments in the ongoing stalemate in Harrisburg. I am hopeful that this new feature will help community residents learn and understand the process and make their voices heard in the debate.
Recent posts have focused on the need to ensure state resources are invested wisely. I encourage you to check out my new Budget Blog here.
Citizen Report Includes Roundtable Discussion of Local, Statewide Issues
In the most recent edition of my Citizen Report television program, I participate in a roundtable discussion with members of Lancaster Countyís delegation to the House of Representatives. The discussion focuses on a wide range of issues, including the budget impasse, pension reform and issues facing the agriculture community, including steps to combat the spread of avian influenza.
The program is available by clicking
Senate Box 203036