Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: 2009 Edition

(NOTE: This is a three-part series on the Pennsylvania budget impasse.  Be sure to also read part 2 and part 3!)

In what has become an annual tradition since 2003, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has announced that, once again, our state government appears unable to pass a budget by the June 30th deadline.  If this budget remains unresolved, state employees will be required to report to work, but will not be paid until a budget is passed.  The silence from AFSCME — the union which all state employees are required to pay into, regardless of membership, and whom is supposed to help out with this sort of thing — is deafening.

If you’re thinking “Hah, I don’t work for the state, so this doesn’t affect me at all”, you’re dead wrong.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: 2009 Edition

Another Year, Another Budget Impasse

Once again, our fearless leaders have warned us that they may fail to pass a budget this year.  What’s different this time around is that instead of furloughing non-critical state employees, Governor Ed Rendell has assured all of us that we will continue to report to work no matter what happens.  Only, we won’t get paid after June 30th.

There’s an interesting law on the books — one that I’m very familiar with, having used it against a former employer — called the Pennsylvania Wage Payment And Collection Act of 1961.  It’s a very simple law to read, and I suggest everyone (state employee or not) take a look at it.  In short, it states that your employer must pay you on your regular payday, that your employer can not delay payment under any circumstances, and that your employer can not waive your rights by making you sign an agreement.  In other words, if you work, you must get paid.  Period.  The act even goes on to clarify that this explicitly applies to salary, hourly rate, commission, and so on.  It’s a pretty open-and-shut law:  If you work, you must get paid on time.

Continue reading Another Year, Another Budget Impasse

Abandoned Turnpike

As mentioned in some of my previous posts, Pennsylvania has a very unique bit of history about 90 minutes west of here.  Nestled between Breezewood and the Sideling Hill travel plaza, a 16-mile-long segment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike has been abandoned since 1966.  The roadway, complete with two large tunnels, cuts through the mountains like a four-lane concrete snake, all but forgotten by most.  So I was pretty ecstatic to find this video on YouTube.  Enjoy:

So About That Rendell Guy


Ed, ed, ed, ed, ed.  Ed.

What can be said about the man that hasn’t already been said thousands of times before?  No words of mine — neither poetic tapping on my 1993-era super-clicky keyboard nor alcohol-fueled ramblings on a public terminal — can truly, meaningfully express how we feel about Governor Ed Rendell right now.  I know there’s been a lot of commentary about him lately, and a great many people have taken it upon themselves to try to adequately convey our true feelings.  Some messages are quite harsh; others, soft.  Yet I feel that none have yet truly captured the sentiment felt by so many of us residing in this great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  So I will try my best to fill this monumental exercise in futility.

Bear with me.

At the end of the day, there is but one thing to remember about our great Governor.  You see, no matter what people may say — no matter what jokes they may make — there is one, universal, unconditional truth about Ed Rendell.  All kidding aside (if I may be serious here for just a moment) there’s really only one thing that you have to remember about the guy.  And I’m truly speaking from my heart, and I think from the hearts of most Pennsylvanians, when I point out that no matter what your political beliefs or party affiliation may be, there’s one thing that pretty much everyone agrees on when it comes to Governor Ed Rendell:

Continue reading So About That Rendell Guy