Responding to growing pleas from schools and community groups to release overdue state funding, Senator Scott Hutchinson supported Senate Republicans’ effort on Wednesday (October 28) to override Governor Wolf’s veto of an emergency budget passed last month by the General Assembly.
Senate leaders emphasized that the override would have provided badly needed funding while negotiations continue on a final budget agreement. The override required a two-thirds majority, or 33 votes. While all 30 Republican Senators voted for the measure, the emergency funding veto override vote received no Democrat support.
“The citizens of Pennsylvania want us to live within our means and pass a budget that does not take all of the money out of their pockets. They want us to act responsibly to take the tax dollars that are already being collected and get those out the door to needy services like education, rape crisis centers and child care centers that are being forced to borrow money because of disagreements in Harrisburg,” Senator Hutchinson said.
“Today we had a chance to vote and send money out the door, but unfortunately that failed and that is very frustrating to those of us who want to help those organizations on the street with the money we have today,” he continued.
Hours before the vote, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told members of the Senate Democrat Policy Committee that the lack of state funding is having a devastating financial impact on schools throughout Pennsylvania. School districts have already borrowed nearly a half-billion dollars – plus interest payments of $15 million – because of the budget impasse, and that number may double by Thanksgiving.
“Our schools are really at the end of their cash. Many are going to banks as we speak, getting ready for lines of credit. I am hearing a lot from other social services agencies that rely on state government money,” Senator Hutchinson said. “Nobody is disputing that they deserve that money, but unfortunately it is unable to get out the door unless we pass this emergency funding bill.”
The vote marked the fifth time since June 30 that the legislature has attempted to have a fiscally responsible budget enacted and keep money flowing to schools and organizations.
Click for video of Senator Hutchinson’s comments on the budget impasse and the veto override.