HARRISBURG, May 17 – State Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence, has introduced a bill (H.B. 2077) that would fund schools and human service agencies if a budget is not enacted by the July 1 deadline to start the new fiscal year.
Under Gibbons’ bill, if a budget is not successfully enacted by July 1, all line items from the previous year’s budget will continue to receive funding equal to that of the previously enacted budget, with the exception of the Governor’s Office, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the Senate and the House of Representatives. These offices will not receive funding until a new budget is enacted.
“Last year’s budget impasse was a disappointing failure that should never happen again,” Gibbons said. ‘That’s why I have introduced a bill to remove the uncertainty and financial distress that accompanied this past year’s budget so schools and human service agencies can operate uninterrupted.”
Gibbons said due to the impasse, many schools and organizations were forced to obtain private loans that have now created financial issues for many years to come. The stalemate resulted in schools and social service agencies being dangerously underfunded for an undetermined period of time and he doesn’t want that to happen again
“As members of the legislature, we must act to ensure that such a standoff, as we experienced last year, is not allowed to recur; but if it does, we must not allow it to impact the ability of schools and social service agencies to deliver services,” Gibbons said.
The lawmaker said many of the loans schools and human service providers received have already totaled in the tens of thousands of dollars in interest due.
Gibbons said the legislature must take the necessary steps this year to ensure that an impasse never again creates suffering for schools and social service agencies.