Academic Festival: The PA Budget Impasse

Category:  News
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 at 10:24 PM
Academic Festival: The PA Budget Impasse by Hannah Webster
‘The PA Budget Impasse’ was presented in Pogue Student Center on March 29.

Last week, Edinboro hosted their annual Academic Festival with various workshops each day. Among the many was a discussion regarding the state budget impasse.

“The Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: Bad Constitution, Bad Conduct” was presented by Dr. Edmund Abegg and Dr. Bridget Jeffery, in the Frank G. Pogue Student Center March 29.

Jeffery started off the talk by addressing the amount of democrats and republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, in order to give some background on the decision making process. She also shared history regarding past budget impasses.

According to Jeffery, when Ed Rendell was governor, he missed every budget deadline. This left “payless paydays” for some employees and a one-day furlough.

Later on, Jeffery discussed instances where other states had similar budget impasses, such as Illinois in the 2015-2016 academic year. The impasse in Illinois has lasted over 272 days. According to The Chicago Tribune, this impasse has left students who attend colleges in Illinois without grants from the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP).

MAP grants help the students who need it most by providing up to $4,720 to be used towards attending any private or public school. Students pledge their reward prior to the school year, but the schools only receive the money if it is appropriated by the legislature and approved by the governor.

Jeffery explained that a divided government led to the 2016 Pennsylvania impasse. Pennsylvania is home to a GOP-majority state legislature that is working with a first-year democratic governor.

Abegg addressed the fact that some schools are suing the governor on inadequate funding for education and concluded that Pennsylvania’s veto power is weak.

“The only sin Gov. Wolf did was use his veto power,” said Abbeg.

He went on to discuss that he believes an ideological cause at the federal level is responsible for the budget impasse. He does not believe the impasse occurred because the government is lazy.

Both Abegg and Jeffery agree that action regarding the budget needed to be taken sooner. After discussing plans for the future, Jeffery admitted that she does not feel comfortable with Wolf. She believes the upcoming state budget will again be late and the governor will try to stand fast with a tax increase.

Hannah Webster is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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