HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s budget is still not finalized and will soon be five months late. With the House in session, will there be any progress made?
During a meeting of the Pennsylvania Press Club, House Majority Leader Matt Bradford (D) said the last nine months “has not been without drama and without dysfunction. it has not been completely smooth sailing.”
A one-seat or none-seat majority has tied Democrat’s hands. Code bills, which allow state money to be spent, are still not finished. Funding for Penn State, Pitt, and Temple is also not complete.
It’s been the House Democrats who’ve consistently been the one out of step with everyone else,” said House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler (R), “and I would welcome them to governing the Commonwealth.”
Mistrust exploded when Democrats refused to support a school voucher program that even the Democratic Governor agreed to.
“Vouchers are very problematic. Period. Full stop,” said Bradford. “I don’t believe in using government taxpayer money to fund religious schools, schools that can discriminate, schools that, frankly don’t have to take the hardest cases.”
As for Penn State, Pitt, and Temple funding, Bradford says that’s on House Republicans.
“We’re not going to let these crazy social issues regarding abortion and all this other right-wing craziness get in the way of funding our students,” said Bradford.
Governor Josh Shapiro said both sides have “to figure out how to work together, how to move bills back and forth, how to compromise.”
Shapiro noted it’s a new dynamic with new faces in a divided government, but pointed to his recent hosting of State Senate Leader Joe Pittman and Punxsutawney Phil as an important relationship building.
“We have a really good rapport and an honest dialog going back and forth,” said Shapiro. “So I think it’s a learning process. I think we’re seeing some progress be made, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
“I think everyone would be wise not to send a bill over without an agreed to fiscal code,” added Bradford. “That is an act of political Harry Carey that some engaged in that probably was not beneficial in terms of a good process.”