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Politics & Government

With No PA Budget In Place, What Now?

Late budgets aren’t the statewide shock they used to be.

Sure, the commonwealth loses the authority to make certain payments. Standoffs in the '70s, '80s and '90s meant thousands of state workers went unpaid. But recent court rulings say the state has to pay its employees’ salaries. Other critical services will have to be funded as well.

“I don’t think people should be terribly panicked or concerned,” said Christopher Craig, chief counsel to the state Treasurer. “It will take quite some for any real impact to be noticeable.”

The governor’s office says state parks will remain open, and various public benefits will be paid, such as unemployment compensation, food stamps and medical assistance. Certain prison and security costs will also be paid – “anything that’s really related to the health, safety and welfare of the commonwealth,” said Craig.

“We’ve been down this so we’re a lot more adept at it,” Craig added, “including provisions in state contracts that relate to budgetary impasse in order to maintain continuity of services.”

A budget stalemate lasting weeks or more than a month stands to hurt nonprofits and school districts operating on tight margins.