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I am responding to your editorial published today, titled – “Don’t play politics with lives.”

Your closing statement to legislators – So, please put aside the partisan bickering and pass a budget that fully funds the agencies that, in some cases, save our children’s lives.

Let me be crystal clear – I did my job in the Senate last year along with other Republicans in the PA House and Senate – we passed a balanced and responsible budget to Gov. Tom Wolf that increased spending and did not impose tax increases.

Wolf chose to veto the budget on June 30th instead of passing seventy-five percent of the budget and blue lining the balance.

As a result of his veto,  Wolf, and only Wolf, inflicted financial hardships on many agencies, schools, and municipalities  while every tax paying citizen continued to send various forms of taxes each and every day of the budget impasse to Harrisburg – in the private sector we call the continuous flow of money cash flow.

To the person that authored the editorial - unfortunately they did not have accurate facts.

I take my job as a state senator very seriously – I asked questions at the press conference held by Auditor General DePasquale and Human Services Secretary Dallas this past Tuesday highlighting call issues at Childline.

They stated that 42,000 calls to Childline went unanswered in the period of a year – Secretary Dallas is asking for three more department personnel and an additional $1.8 Million Dollars of funding.

I absolutely agree that the lives of children matter – but it is also my job as a state senator and member of the Senate Appropriations committee to ask questions – there may be a possibility with some realigning and doing things differently additional personnel may not be needed at Childline.

I want to know specific details – of the approximately 70 personnel at Childline what is each person’s call productivity – length of calls – this information should be reviewed to understand which people in the department are top performers and who are the lower performers – maybe the lower performers should consider employment elsewhere –  and by the way -  all of the personnel handling calls at Childline are members of a public sector union.

I asked the question – is the problem a result of human functions or is it equipment malfunctioning – if equipment is the problem then fix the equipment – outdated or malfunctioning equipment does not justify hiring more people.

I can guarantee you one thing – I do not – will not participate in bickering – I will ask questions – and I expect answers – and answers may lead to more questions until we solve our out of control spending in Harrisburg.

It is time for Harrisburg to be held accountable for the hard-earned tax dollars sent to Harrisburg.

Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township

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