We’re On Our Way

Senate Bill 850, “An Act to provide from the General Fund for the expenses of (the state)”, is on its way to the governor.  Three legislators voted against the bill — Representatives Steve Santarsiero, Dennis O’Brien, and Paul Drucker.  Rumors of a fourth are rumbling, but the bill passed by an overwhelming margin.  The threat of angry voters promising to vote against every incumbent has apparently been felt.

You can see how your legislator voted by clicking here:  SB 850

In a related note, I’ve had my hands full this past weekend, so the updates have been slow.  I’ll attempt to resume this week.

The Meeting

Words can not describe my disappointment at today’s events.

First, let me say that a stopgap budget, or any measure passed to resume our pay, is bittersweet.  True, we’ll technically be getting paychecks again.  And for a lot of state employees, that’s the difference between dinner and nothing.  So I won’t complain if our paychecks resume under such a proposal.  But at issue here is the fact that our legislature has not yet passed a formal budget, despite our constitution requiring its approval by June 30th — almost a full month ago.

Continue reading The Meeting

Yesterday’s Capitol Protest: Pictures & Video

protest1c

Approximately 3,000 people (guess) turned out to protest the budget impasse — and specifically, how it has effectively cut 100% of funding to 100% of state agencies and programs — yesterday afternoon on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg.  Supporters overruled the oppressive, muggy heat to make sure our message was heard.  We need a budget passed, and we need it passed now. The time for committees, speeches, debate, and other political rhetoric is long over.

Continue reading Yesterday’s Capitol Protest: Pictures & Video

Sample Creditor Letter

Any state employee who is affected by the impasse (which, basically, means all of us) should consider reaching out to his or her creditors to let them know what’s going on.  Even with 10 weeks’ worth of spending money in savings, I’ve contacted all of mine to inquire about deferment and emergency arrangements.  Creditors are a finicky bunch, and they’re a lot more likely to help you out if they know you’re dealing in good faith.  But you need to be careful in how you approach them.

First, if you tell them you can no longer pay them, you may get dumped into collections immediately.  Don’t do this.  Instead, stress that you are temporarily being affected by extraordinary circumstances, and that you anticipate a resumption in pay “soon”.  If you can make them understand that you’re not simply blowing them off, they will be much more likely (but still not guaranteed) to work with you. Continue reading Sample Creditor Letter