State Rep. Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown) firmly believes “you can’t spend what you don’t have, especially when you don’t know what you have.” With that as a basis, he joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle today in sending to Gov. Tom Wolf the package of state budget legislation for the first portion of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Pennsylvania’s economy in ways that could last well into next year,” Rigby said. “If I were asked to vote on a spending plan for the entire fiscal year ahead, I would have to seriously consider abstaining because of the oath I took to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. No one knows what lies ahead of us, especially from a fiscal perspective.
The one exception to the five-month budget that awaits the governor’s signature is public school and higher education funding, which is appropriated for the entire 2020-21 school year.
“School districts set their budgets for a full year and must have a reliable source of state revenue for planning purposes,” added Rigby. “The Pennsylvania Constitution charges the General Assembly with ‘the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public?education?to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.’ From a stability standpoint, we have very little choice but to do what we did in supporting our schools and their students.
“No responsible individual or family would take on a 12-month expense with only five months of money in hand. By the end of November, we will hopefully have a more secure handle on our finances and be better able to reliably lay out a budget for December through June. Many ‘dominoes’ have yet to fall in this pandemic, and budget forecasters think five months is as far out as we can responsibly go.”
Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Rigby’s district office by calling 814-536-9818.
Representative Jim Rigby
71st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott B. Little
717.260.6137 (office), 717.497.5967 (cell)
RepJimRigby.com / Facebook.com/RepJimRigby