We told you…

If you listened to Let’s Talk on Monday morning, you heard an energetic interview with Stephen Caruso, the state government reporter for Spotlight PA. 

Energetic? One of the themes of the interview was to expect a wild finish to the calendar year for the state legislature this week, and that’s exactly what’s happened. The state House and Senate went into overdrive this week to pass bills and resolutions before that all take a leave for Christmas break this weekend. 

At long last the remaining parts of the annual PA state budget finally passed this week. Finally means the budget is supposed to be finalized by the end of JUNE. Hey, they only missed by five and a half months. They were close, like the distance from Centre County to Mongolia. 

A lot of entities across the state, like libraries and colleges and service agencies, had to sit and bear it all this time. Now they’ll finally get the funding they’ve waited patiently for – but how much was sacrificed these last few months? Any business who pulled this stunt wouldn’t be in business for long.

But government of course is a different kind of business. You miss basic business payments for over five months and you probably go to jail. They miss payments and they go home for holiday parties. Go figure. But this is not acceptable behavior.

The state Senate passed a bill to mandate at least one armed security office in every PA public school district starting with the 2024-25 school year. It passed on party lines – Republicans in favor, Democrats against. “Mandate” means the school doesn’t have a choice AND it’s at school expense, meaning local taxpayer expense. Frankly many districts probably already have an armed officer but many rural districts do not. Yet another Harrisburg expense to add to the local school budget.

Will it help? Only if “crazed” individuals who want to do violence at a school know that someone is packing a gun inside. And if they are that “crazed,” maybe they won’t care? Think about it – how many people who have actually done this across the country lived afterward? These individuals perhaps don’t even want to survive. An armed officer on duty probably won’t dissuade them. 

Now that bill goes to the state House with a very uncertain future. And Governor Shapiro has already said he’s against it, meaning veto. An exercise in futility for those GOP senators?

But the good news this week – thank goodness the legislature passed a resolution declaring this as the Taylor Swift Era for the PA native, and ironically did this on her birthday December 13. Ironically? (sigh) One report claimed that the legislature has spent over 1,500 hours this year passing meaningless resolutions. That equates to over 60 full days. No wonder the state budget got fully passed over five months late, they were too busy coming up with cute Taylor Swift lyrics to use in witty announcements and fake honors. How much $$$ did this cost us?

We all shake our heads at politicians – and rightfully so. Maybe we should start shaking our fists instead. As public confidence in government continues to wane, the ruling class doesn’t seem to much care. The mayor of Boston who recently invited only people of color to her holiday party may not be so out of touch after all. These folks are

And let’s not get started on Washington DC. Trump’s in court, Biden may be headed for court, his son is in court, the Supreme Court could get involved, and the Washington Wizards court will move to northern VA in a few years. It’s a banner year for lawyers.

The Christmas holiday can’t come soon enough…

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