Thursday, September 17th I received the attached documents in our Republican Caucus meeting. As you can see, it is correspondence between the PA Department of Human Services, the Wolf Administration, and Senator Pat Browne, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In the original letter from DHS/the Wolf administration, a request was made to use unspent funding (originally allocated for County Assistance Offices and Child Support Enforcement) from the 2014 fiscal year to “improve mail delivery and document handling, scanning, and processing activities”, which I take to mean a copier/scanner. As much as I understand that functioning office supplies are necessary, in this budget impasse, I question the judgement not only of DHS but the Wolf administration who has approved this request.
Further, this use of unspent funding showcases the authority the Wolf administration has to use unspent money for different purposes. Governor Wolf certainly could have authorized those unspent funds to be sent to services providers that are currently struggling to continue to provide the services that our most vulnerable so desperately need, or to school districts that are struggling to stay open.
On Friday, September 18th, the Senate passed a stopgap budget intended to flow money to departments and agencies that have not received funding since July 1, 2015. Governor Wolf has given every indication that he will veto this bill, calling the proposal a gimmick. I see no gimmick in funding the important agencies and the PEOPLE that provide their services and I fail to understand the logic behind allowing unspent money to be used for seemingly unnecessary expenses while people and children are held hostage. I share your frustration with this budget impasse and hope the General Assembly and Governor end this stalemate soon. In the meantime, I will continue to do all that I can to keep government functioning. After all, a government that doesn’t work for the people isn’t working at all.