Feb. 09, 2016

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HARRISBURG – On the same day Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his annual budget address, Rep. Dan Truitt (R-Chester) and other lawmakers held a Capitol news conference this morning to urge their colleagues to adopt legislation that would prevent the interruption of crucial services in the event of a future state budget impasse.

During the budget stalemate in 2015, school districts, domestic violence shelters, food pantries and the juvenile justice system found themselves facing the prospect of shutting down or turning away clients because state funding wasn’t being released. It was during that time Truitt introduced House Bill 1410, the Temporary Emergency Budget Fund, which would have created a mechanism by which the state budget secretary could continue payments to health and human services agencies, school districts and other entities that provide government services until a final budget agreement was reached.

The Truitt proposal would have deposited state revenues that continued to be collected into the Temporary Emergency Budget Fund. The budget secretary would then have been able to distribute payments as necessary. Expenditures would have been limited, however, to the dollar amounts allocated during the previous year’s budget.

In addition to House Bill 1410, other proposals were discussed at the news conference that, while differing in specifics, share a common goal: keeping vital services operational, even when lawmakers and the governor can’t agree on a budget proposal.

“The only pain that should be felt in the event the governor and Legislature can’t reach a budget agreement in a timely manner is in the Capitol building itself,” said Truitt. “It’s perfectly legitimate to penalize political leaders who don’t finish their jobs on time, but our state’s children, senior citizens and people with disabilities shouldn’t have to suffer.”

Truitt said legislation should be adopted now, before the June 30 budget deadline, so that politics doesn’t fit into the equation of whether or not funding is authorized.

“Once you pass the June 30 deadline, some are tempted to weigh the political benefits of authorizing or withholding funding from areas in the budget, hoping to gain some sort of electoral advantage,” said Truitt. “That’s unconscionable. We must make every effort to keep Pennsylvanians from being held hostage or used as bargaining chips in political disputes. They expect and deserve more from their elected leaders. Let’s pass legislation now to prevent such practices from taking place.”

For more information, visit RepTruitt.com or Facebook.com/RepTruitt.

Video remarks from Truitt at today’s news conference may be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdX7I-EQjck&feature=youtu.be.

Representative Dan Truitt
156th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ryan Travis, (717) 260-6335
RepTruitt.com and Facebook.com/RepTruitt