The Latest Scoop on State Budget Negotiations
(I know, the title is a shameless pun on my favorite food group, but I just couldn’t resist.)
While it seems like nothing is happening in Harrisburg in regards to the budget, there may be more going on than meets the eye. Based on information from various sources, I wanted to share ‘the latest scoop’ with all of you . . .
Earlier this week, a conference committee was assembled to hammer out the details of the State Budget. Multiple sources have told me, however, that things are not going very well in that venue. Both sides appear to be digging in for a long and private battle. Although the House calendar was originally set up for this week, State Representatives were sent home for the week to ‘sit and wait’ (although they remain ‘on call’ should a vote be required). While both sides (Democrats and Republicans) are trying to put a shiny face on the on-going debate, honest personal opinions of lawmakers are seemingly less optimistic.
Public (official) comments by Mercer County Representatives seem to be all over the board. YouTube video releases from Representative Dick Stevenson and Representative Michele Brooks make simple and basic comments regarding the budget negotiations, but they provide few details about the process itself.
Representative Dick Stevenson simply stands firm on his opinions about no increase in the Personal Income Tax (PIT). WATCH VIDEO HERE
Representative Michele Brooks supports the stand of conservative conference committee members. WATCH VIDEO HERE.
Representative Kathy Rapp, on the other hand, tries to ‘sound’ optimistic, but it doesn’t take a body language expert to realize that she may not completely believe what she is saying. WATCH VIDEO HERE.
A YouTube video released by Representative Jim Cox today talks about a new ‘openness and transparency’ in the process, but taxpayers are not yet on the receiving end of that outpouring of information. WATCH VIDEO HERE.
Newspaper reports earlier this week stated that Governor Rendell might be looking for ways to push through some sort of funding for State Workers’ salaries that would get us through the impasse, but the latest news explains that the Governor may simply encourage House Democrats to approve the Senate Budget early next week so that he (the Governor) can simply trim down the Senate Budget through line-item-veto capabilities. (read the full story HERE). It all makes me just a little nervous because it seems like we are all being set up for some sort of ‘magic trick’ or something. It seems very odd that the Governor would now (and very suddenly) consider the Senate Budget Bill that has been available since early May. It makes you wonder why he has waited almost three months to consider such a move.
Although I’d much rather see a good solid budget worked out and agreed to by both sides, Pennsylvania lawmakers may be in a bit of a twist if something isn’t done soon. State Workers are going unpaid, and taxpayers are getting angry and frustrated. The inability of lawmakers to come together for the common good of the commonwealth has state residents scratching their heads and wondering . . . “what are they getting paid for?”
So . . . while the news regarding budget negotiations is sparse, you better believe that there is a whole lot of game playing going on right now that we are simply not completely aware of.
That is the latest ‘scoop’ as I see it.