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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 19, 2016 12:59 PM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Budget Impasse Protocol
The current budget situation our state is facing is both unfortunate and unprecedented. Pennsylvania is now operating under an incomplete spending plan because of increasing gridlock and failure to live up to terms of agreements. Coupled with the fact that the budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year is scheduled to be unveiled in just a few short weeks will lead our state into unchartered territory in how budget frameworks are negotiated and enacted.

Feeling the need to find a solution to prevent the current situation from becoming the new reality, I will be introducing legislation in the coming weeks that will lay out the protocol if the General Assembly fails to pass a budget by the constitutional deadline of June 30th.

For months following the first gubernatorial veto last July, I continuously called for negotiators from all four legislative caucuses and the Governor’s office to meet all day, every day until an agreed to deal was reached which is exactly what my legislation will do. Under my bill, designated negotiating teams from all five parties will be required to meet for at least 10 hours a day if a complete budget agreement has not been reached and in place as of July 5th of each year. This schedule will continue for the selected leaders and their teams until a complete spending plan has been accomplished.

I firmly believe that we need to get back to taking our constitutional duties seriously by passing a budget by June 30th each year. I feel that the Legislature and the Administration are no longer working in a cooperative manner to ensure that each represented party at the table keep their word toward those agreements. Clearly we need more laws in place to place even more urgency on the matter so that the state is not left in disarray and resident’s livelihoods aren’t at stake once again.

I hope you will consider joining me by co sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB1169