Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Business as usual in Harrisburg

Another day, another dollar in Harrisburg.

Actually lots of dollars. About $2 billion of them.

That's the spending gap the state is currently looking at.

Republicans who control both the House and Senate have not been able to agree on a funding mechanism.

So the state is beginning the painful process of halting payments on key services. The first hit was to Medicaid payments, which pick up the tab for health care for some of the state's neediest people.

Pension payments and education funding could be next.

The Senate returned from their summer vacation Monday, but a deal continues to elude our representatives in Harrisburg. It's embarrassing that this state continues to face the same kind of budget follies year after year.

At least the Senate got serious about dealing with the state's recurring budget woes. They passed a funding plan that included a variety of tax hikes, including the state's first severance tax on natural gas drillers.

The House, where Republicans are adamanty opposed to tax hikes (maybe because they have to run for office every two years?) instead are looking at a plant that skims off what they call 'surplus' funding from many departments, raids the tobacco lawsuit settlement fund, and pushes another increase in legal gaming in the state.

This is no longer just business as usual in Harrisburg.

People are now getting hurt.

Read our editorial here.

Then call you representative and senator and tell them to get a budget deal done.

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