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How Do Other States Handle A Budget Impasse?

Marcus Charleston
Statue of President Wm. McKinley in front of the Ohio Statehouse

As the Pennsylvanian budget impasse enters its 7th month without an ending in sight, many are wondering what can be done to keep this from happening again. However, as Tribune Review reporter Natasha Lindstrom discovered, Pennsylvania may be the only state to experience this problem.

In PA, there are no consequences for politicians should they be late in delivering a budget. Their pay does not decrease, the government remains open, and legislators are free to go about their usual schedule. This is not so in other states.

In Ohio, should a budget not be delivered on time, all facets of government are shut down, according to Lindstrom, except for emergency services. This would mean no public parks, no road repair crews, and no chance for people to get driver’s licenses. Lindstrom pointed out that this would create an out roar by Ohio citizens and as such, budget impasses are avoided in the state.

This is not the only preventative measure other states undertake. In California, legislatures do not receive payment during a late budget, while in New Jersey, non-partisan negotiators are used to help settle budget disputes between parties.

Besides this lack of consequences, there are other factors in play that have made passing the budget in PA difficult. The Keystone State has the 2nd largest legislature, with 203 members in the House alone, which can make compromise difficult Lindstrom said. She further stated that a lack of response from constituents over the issue has made representatives less likely to speed up the issue.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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