Pennsylvania has recently found itself in limbo with our state budget and future deficit problems. There have been various proposals on how to make up revenue to balance the state budget, as well as secure the future of the state. In the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year budget, there was an impasse that impacted thousands of nonprofits throughout the commonwealth. United Way of Pennsylvania, along with other organizations, took a survey of how the impasse impacted the nonprofit sector. From this survey, 60 percent of respondents needed to secure a loan to cover their expenses and 28 percent expected to curtail services by August. State government relies on these nonprofits to deliver services to Pennsylvanians and every budget impasse is devastating to the service delivery system. Not only are these disruptions due to state funding being delayed, but also federal funds not passing through the state during an impasse.
(1) If elected Governor, would you support amendments to state law which protect Pennsylvania’s service recipients and service providers by assuring that federal dollars allocated to the Commonwealth, and state dollars for essential services that directly impact the health and safety of Pennsylvanians, continue to be paid during a budget impasse? What steps would you take to work with the legislature to avoid a state budget impasse?
Wagner: As Governor, it is my sincere intention that the residents of this Commonwealth are not subjected to a protracted budget impasse. By implementing a commonsense approach such as zero-based budgeting, we will have the ability to budget in a meaningful and transparent manner that makes sense for taxpayers. We will invest in things that work and we will end wasteful and ineffective spending. Even during a budget impasse, money is still being collected and remitted to the Commonwealth. There is no reason why this funding cannot be allocated to those essential services that are most needed by our most vulnerable citizens. I would work with the Legislature to formulate a plan that would help avoid a budget impasse but would also include an avenue to continue funding for those necessary services for our must vulnerable citizens need at the prior years levels to balance the protections taxpayers need with the needs of the people who rely on the health and safety aspects of the budget.
Wolf: I know how important it is to protect Pennsylvania’s service recipients and service providers during a budget impasse. I have supported measures to ensure the state would help to pay interest on loans taken by service providers during a budget impasse.