EDITORIAL: Make some noise in the Capitol
Two and a half months after Pennsylvania should have had a budget in place, agencies that care for our needy, neglected and disabled are struggling to provide services.
State and county funding isn't flowing to agencies like the York County Children's Advocacy Center and the Area Agency on Aging, grants are in limbo and bills are piling up.
Some are borrowing money to stay afloat during the impasse between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature. Others already have exhausted lines of credit and are seeking funding from other agencies.
It's difficult, the directors of some of these agencies said, but they're managing for now. All bets are off, though, if the stalemate drags on through next month, they added.
Think about that.
Would you like to be the one deciding which child abuse allegation isn't investigated or which senior citizen will no longer receive in-home care? How about how many and which employees you're going to furlough?
The truth is, though, we expect these agencies will do everything they can to continue providing services. They care deeply about their clients, and failure just isn't an option for them.
Unfortunately, our representatives in Harrisburg don't seem to share the sense of urgency others are feeling.
In fact, the only thing unusual about the Capitol these days is how empty and quiet it is, according to a recent Associated Press report.
"I've not heard anything new about the budget," Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, told an AP reporter last week. "When I talk to people about it, I get a lot of shrugs and 'Hey, we're waiting' and 'Not there yet."'
A "very quiet crisis" is how another business leader put it.
It seems our lawmakers — some of whom left on vacations and excursions this summer, as if all was well — just don't get it. Maybe they feel the longer this drags on, the longer one side or the other can delay admitting "defeat."
We have news for Democrats and Republicans — both sides eventually will have to acknowledge they're not getting everything they want. That's just reality.
The sooner they compromise, the sooner they can highlight their budget "wins" back home — where, in case they hadn't noticed, the constituents are getting restless.
If you agree the Capitol has been too quiet lately, do your part to raise the decibel level: Contact your lawmakers information (find them and their contact) and tell them to get the job done.