Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PA Is A Sad State

It was supposed to be passed in June. In the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the place where pen was put to paper and a nation was born, a place where another pen was put to paper and one of the greatest legal documents ever created was written, the US Constitution. A place that was the home of Ben Franklin, a place where the battle that turned the tide in the civil war took place in Gettysburg. The Pennsylvania that led the industrial revolution, the place that made the steel used the build the nations highways, bridges, tunnels, and great skyscrapers. Pennsylvania has one of the great Ivy League university's. Pennsylvania that has two of the nations greatest symphony orchestras and some of it's finest museums. In Pennsylvania lives the greatest college football coach in history. Ike, the general that saved Europe from Nazi domination chose to live in Pennsylvania. And, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the single worst President in our nations history, James Buchanan. Which leads me to this fact.

Pennsylvania has yet to pass it's budget.

School districts are running out of money, poor children are not allowed to attend pre-school, vendors are not getting paid despite the fact they are still obligated to provide services. City's and counties are not getting reimbursed for the services they are mandated by law to preform, our county courts are running on IOUs. But, our bloated legislature and our Governor are getting paid. These guys are still getting their health care paid for. Their cars, travel and meals are getting reimbursed but for everything else the state is obligated to pay for. Too bad! If I did not do my job not only would I not get paid but I would not have a job at all. Yet these people have no problems paying themselves and clearly have no guilt about it at all. Nothing else is getting done and yet they are getting a paycheck.

Even the disasters that are New York State and California have budgets. Alaska had it's governor freak out and quit has a budget. But, not Pennsylvania.

Let me say here that I have a great deal of respect for many of our local legislators. Greg Dally, has my vote for judge because I think he is a decent, hard working guy and will bring a fresh perspective to the bench. He also does not have the name Lisa Boscola on his poster and for that reason alone he deserves my vote. I have known and respected Steve Samuelson since he worked for a local paper. Rich Grucela has been a friend since he was a young teacher with me in one of his first classes and Bob Freeman has been my friend since he was 15 and I was 13 and we were knocking on doors for George McGovern. Bob was the first person I came out to face to face and it was Bob's loss in 1994 that led to my decision to remove myself from active participation in politics. Bob is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I supported Ed Rendell during his first race for Governor against Bob Casey Sr and believe that he has been one of the bright lights of the Democratic party for more than a generation.

After a quarter of year now even I am even struggling with not holding these fine men accountable for the actions of their leadership and their Governor. I admit to not understanding all the details of this stand off but It has become increasingly clear to me that the debate is not about policy but it is about power. It's like these guys are six years old & having a breath holding contest or a blinking contest or they are tying to prove that the are the biggest man. After all this time they have proven only how small they really are and I wish they would all just hold their breath so long they pass out and real leaders emerge. I keep waiting for the good people in both parties to stand up to their leaders and take over. I keep waiting and waiting and waiting.

I will offer my campaign assistance to the gentleman listed above next year because I believe they are decent people who serve their constituents well but I will certainly understand the people who will have a difficult time voting for them and quite frankly will be unable and maybe unwilling to defend them over this ridiculous budget process. Even if they are not embarrassed, I am.


  1. There is a certain inconsistency in the way our legislators are viewed. Polls show even when a legislature (state or federal) is viewed poorly, for the most part people still like their particular representative. How can the individuals be great when the combination stinks?

    One conspiracy theory I haven't seen yet is that maybe the PA government is going to go budgetless the entire year. As income isn't being seriously affected, that would give them an extra $10 billion or so in walk around money for 2011.

  2. My knee jerk reaction to this: If a husband and wife were to be arguing over which bills to pay 1st and held back their taxes to the state, would the state be as tolerant? Obviously not!

    There would financial penalties to pay.

    Perhaps... just perhaps if their own personal salaries were penalized and on the line we might just get things done!