Contact Information 

District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776

E-Mail:  
smentzer@pahousegop.com

Time for a Stopgap Budget
9/25/2015
This week, the House of Representatives will consider a four-month “stopgap” budget to provide funding to schools, human service providers and agencies that desperately need funding. I can’t think of any reason why the Governor wouldn’t agree to this. Can you? Senators approved the legislation, Senate Bill 1000 last week.

The stopgap budget is a necessary short-term funding plan during discussions on the broader budget issues. Since Gov. Tom Wolf’s full veto on the proposed budget on June 30, schools and human service agencies have operated without state or federal funding. This is straining their budgets and causing cuts in the services they provide, which I wrote about two weeks ago.

Senate Bill 1000, using funding from the proposed 2015-16 budget, would provide four months of funding to the state government, with some exceptions. This legislation would appropriate 100 percent of federal funds for schools and human service programs. These federal funds are currently being held in the Pennsylvania Treasury and need to be released. Additionally, this legislation would authorize funds to pay down Pennsylvania’s debt service. This legislation requires a majority vote and must be signed by Gov. Wolf.

Governor Wolf has indicated that he intends to veto any stopgap budget that reaches his desk. This will have a devastating effect on many organizations that need state funding. Programs will continue to be cut; school districts will continue to draw on their reserves and organizations will have to pursue alternative financing in order to keep operating. Some will be forced out of business.

This all can be avoided. Additional financial strain on these groups is unnecessary. Gov. Wolf should sign this bill when it reaches his desk. Disagreements still exist on the budget, as the Governor will not move from his $12.7 billion tax increases. Last Wednesday, the Governor said: “I asked them to come back to me as to how we’re going to pay for the things I want.” He has not been willing to negotiate from his initial position increased income and sales taxes.

The Governor is still using our students and vulnerable populations as leverage. In a televised news conference last week, concerning the potential veto and negotiations, the Governor said “They’re poking me in the eye again, that’s what exactly what this is about.” Please let me assure you that this Representative has no interest in poking anyone in the eye. What I do hope is that the Governor signs the stop gap legislation so we can fund our schools and social services agencies until a compromise is reached!

By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Eric Reath
717.260.6187
ereath@pahousegop.com
RepMentzer.com / Facebook.com/RepMentzer
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