As you’ve probably already heard by now, those of us on the 8/7 pay cycle received our full pay (along with back pay) this past Friday. With a few exceptions, everybody on the alternate cycle will be paid this coming Friday. This is a bittersweet victory for us state employees who were asking for nothing more than our paycheck. While most of us have been released from being pawns to our governor’s and legislature’s political games, the budget has still not been passed.
And there’s still the issue of inappropriate behavior by our elected officials — both Republican and Democratic.
You see, we still don’t have a budget. Despite being several months overdue, neither the Senate nor the House nor the Governor has been able to put forth anything workable. It’s the same old story that we’re all getting sick of hearing: Both sides are banging their fists on the table and furiously demanding “compromise”, while feigning outrage at the very notion that they themselves will have to give up some of their ideals.
For example, take Stephen Miskin. He’s the spokesman for the House Republicans. And judging by his Twitter account, the House Republicans are outraged that state employees have been paid. His timeline contains a perpetual stream of complaints over the bridge budget. One of my favorites really drives home their “don’t blame the Senate” mentality:
There isn’t a single legislator who is exempt from blame. Democrats and Republicans, Senators and Representatives, all sit squarely at the center of their failure. For either side to attempt to blame the other — let alone have the official spokesman for the Republican party in Pennsylvania go on a tirade blaming the Democrats for everything — really shows just how much of a game this is to our elected officials.
It’s not a budget impasse to them; it’s a mud-slinging contest.
While we were dipping into carefully-crafted savings (if we were lucky) or struggling to find ways to feed our children and pay late fees + interest on our unpaid utility bills, our legislators were — and are — having a blast. Apparently, this is “fun” to them.
There’s just as much guilt on the Democratic side as there is on the Republican side. But for any legislator to issue any statement other than “We have failed you, and we are sorry” followed immediately by a detailed explanation of what they plan to do differently… That just reeks of incompetence.
While we’re suffering, they’re making political hay.
What happened in our legislature is a twisted take on NIMBY. Everybody furiously demands compromise, but is unwilling to compromise on their own. And while they’re busy giving speeches and stunting in committee meetings, we go unfed. Our bills go unpaid. The contractors who provide services for government agencies & facilities go unpaid. Schools are going without state subsidies. And our legislators have already begun staging themselves for re-election.
But hey, the Pennsylvania Republicans say we only have the Democrats to blame.
Remember this when elections roll around.
Finally, I haven’t been able to update for the past week or so due to a death in the family. I’m back now. Let’s keep the pressure on. We only got paid because our legislators got sick of dealing with our phone calls — if the pressure continues, maybe they’ll get around to, oh I don’t know, actually passing the budget.