Pennsylvania leaders are failing to complete their responsibilities.
Politicians are often dismissed by pundits and the public as self-serving and lacking strong principles. Often, these accusations cause the good and bad to be lumped together, and those in politics who do work to make people’s lives better are not recognized.
Recently, we have been left with far too little evidence that those in public service are indeed trying to serve the public. Pennsylvania is still operating without a budget almost two months after the July 1 deadline to approve a new one. Nonprofits, schools and local governments are struggling to stay afloat, while politicians in Harrisburg bicker over the details of the budget. With all the benefits taxpayers provide politicians, there is no excuse for them to shirk their responsibilities.
One Pennsylvania representative not only ignored his responsibilities but used his time to try to hurt hundreds of families. John Taylor, R-Pa., whose district lies in Northeast Philadelphia, introduced a bill to remove Temple’s $175 million state appropriation from the proposed budget in retaliation for Temple closing Northeastern Hospital. Fortunately, the bill was voted down.
Regardless, this proves that leadership is lacking in politics. This is also seen in the behavior of Pennsylvania politicians who choose to fight over details instead of working to pass a budget. Their claims, either that the wrong budget will raise taxes too much or, on the other hand, that government support is crucial to Pennsylvania’s recovery, come short of voters’ expectations. Pennsylvanians are already being hurt by their lack of compromise. Enough is enough.
If Harrisburg doesn’t find a solution soon, the benefits and drawbacks of one budget or another will be irrelevant. The damage done by the delay in state funds reaching community centers, universities and after-school programs will eclipse the damage of higher taxes or inadequate public support.
In terms of passing its budget on time, Pennsylvania has not only fallen behind, but it also trails incredibly close to the back of the pack. Only one other state, Connecticut, has not passed its budget yet.
While politicians fight their battles, Pennsylvania is hurting. This is not what we are paying taxes for. There is no reason the budget couldn’t have been passed by now. The blame game for the delay was old before it started. As students, as taxpayers and as Pennsylvanians, we want our politicians to take their responsibilities more seriously.
And it wouldn’t hurt to hurry up.