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Everyone needs a change of scenery once in while.

For working stiffs, that usually means making sure everything is in order at work, and all that needs to be done has been done before we hit the road.

Otherwise, we might not have a job when we return.

Unfortunately, some of our state lawmakers seem to think that basic bit of office protocol doesn't apply to them.

A bipartisan group of them — including two of our own — recently returned from a weeklong "fact-finding" trip to Israel.

At any other time, this excursion — partly paid for by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia — would merely raise eyebrows.

Now, nearly two months into a state budget impasse, it's raising our ire.

While Democrats and Republicans stare at each other waiting to see who will blink first, social service agencies are increasingly struggling to care for Pennsylvania's needy, neglected and disabled.

They're taking out loans or, in some cases, cutting services altogether.

Reps. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township, Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, and their five traveling companions shouldn't be leaving the Capitol, much less the country, until we have a state spending plan.

In fact, no one elected to the General Assembly should be leaving at a time like this — not on a fact-finding trip, not on a vacation, not even if they paid for the the whole thing all by themselves.

Grove said the legislators were prepared to fly home from Israel if a budget deal was struck.

OK.

But where did they ever get the idea those were "on-call" jobs we elected them to do? We want them there, in the fray, fighting for us every day this mess drags on.

They might argue this is a leadership spat and they have no say in the matter. To which we would ask ... "Well, why do we need you?"

If they truly have no sway in this matter or are too afraid to rock the boat by speaking up for their constituents, then it's time to hang it up.

There are plenty of private sector jobs where all they have to do is punch a clock and follow directions — and they can probably negotiate a two-week paid vacation.

However, we think if the rank and file were at their desks every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. it would send a powerful message to their leaders: We're ready to work — send us a deal now.

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