Aug. 22, 2023

By 50th District State Rep. Bud Cook
To hear Gov. Josh Shapiro talk, a state budget is in place and all is well at the Capitol. He’s been crisscrossing the state the last couple weeks bragging about “historic” investments in everything from education and economic development to public safety.

But he’s not being honest with you.

The state budget has four basic components, and only half of them are done. The General Appropriations bill, which gives a line-by-line breakdown on how much money taxpayers will be spending on things like education, welfare programs and public safety, was signed into law by the governor Aug. 3. While it is the centerpiece of the annual budget package, it contains more than $1 billion in funding that cannot be disbursed until the rest of the process is completed.

That means less money for our schools, disadvantaged businesses, indigent defense and home repair programs, as well as NO money for our state-related universities: Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln.

Why then, you may ask, hasn’t the Legislature been in session since early July? Why hasn’t the governor pushed the members of his own party, who are in charge of the state House, to call lawmakers back to the Capitol?

Politics, of course. The Democrats held just a 102-101 majority in the state House, but the recent resignation of Allegheny Democrat Sara Innamorato leaves the chamber tied at 101 Democrats and 101 Republicans. The lack of a clear majority all but guarantees we will not be returning to session until late September following a special election to replace her.

The General Appropriations Act is done. The so-called “housekeeping” bills that outline appropriations for various agencies and boards not funded by the General Fund are done. But the code bills -- School Code, Tax Code, Fiscal Code and Administrative Code – that direct HOW some of the money in the budget is going to be spent are incomplete. And the bills to fund state-related universities are incomplete.

It’s irresponsible for the governor to mislead the people of the Commonwealth, and it is equally irresponsible of the Democrat majority to ignore the need to wrap up this budget process. Let’s get back to work.

Representative Bud Cook
50th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
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