Keystone Kongress to Tackle Budget; Ambulance on Standby
Well, kids, now that it’s just long enough for last year’s Pennsylvania budget debacle to be out of current memory, it’s now time again for us all to hold our collective breath for this year’s potential fiasco. Penn State’s appropriation hangs in the balance.
Politicians will be out in full force trying to please everyone, so we should be able to expect that the budget will be completed on time, and not have a 101-day lockout like last year. Should that be the case, more than a few in Harrisburg would most likely be employed elsewhere come November. Public education funds were a central issue to ending the standoff last year; Penn State could not receive its appropriation until the budget was approved.
However, Governor Ed Rendell, who is ineligible to run for a third consecutive term this fall, has other ideas. In asking for a $354 million budget increase for public education, Rendell said what nobody wanted to hear:
There’s room for compromise. But let me say there’s nothing more important to the commonwealth’s future —nothing. And guys, I’m ready. I’m ready for 101 days if it’s necessary.
State lawmakers’ vagueries leave the “commonwealth’s future” uncertain, especially amid a $1.2 billion deficit. There’s a lot of talk and we’re not really sure if anything good will come of it. Now I’m not a complete cynic; so I’ll give the politicians the benefit of the doubt and rely on common sense to guide them to a sensible resolution—or does that make me naïve? Either way, we can all start biting our nails.