Legislation is a platter, not a buffet
My dad was the ultimate meat and potatoes guy. Beef and potatoes, sausage and potatoes, pork and pota-toes…pretty much every meal. If I wanted spaghetti one night, I was usually told “you’ll have what mom makes for dinner…this isn’t a buffet”.
Legislation is a lot like dinner was in my house growing up: you ate the platter that mom served. As much as I would like to, I simply can’t pick and choose the parts of a bill I support; it’s always take it or leave it.
The 2019-20 state budget included a lot that was quite good. We increased funding for public education by $210 million, saw a $30 million increase for early childhood education and a 2% increase for our pub-licly funded colleges.
The budget finally increased wages for the home care workers who assist our seniors and people living with disabilities. Lastly, it fully funds our pension obligations and adds more than $200 million to our rainy-day fund; these are fiscally sound decisions that will have a positive impact for years to come.
With that said, the budget has some massive failures. It did not increase our worst-in-the-nation mini-mum wage. It did not reinstate general assistance for our most at-risk citizens, those Pennsylvanians liv-ing at or near the poverty line. Lastly, it continued the practice of failing to give state agencies charged with protecting our air and water quality the resources they need to do the job.
All in all, even though this budget failed on several very important issues, the good ultimately outweighed the bad. That is why I joined with every other member of the Lehigh Valley delegation – both Democrats and Republicans– on voting yes, even though the omissions are significant and serious.
Our continued inability to find common ground on how to best help living in abject poverty is inexcusable. And that partisan politics replaces sound science when discussing the environment is beyond frustrat-ing. I will not surrender on these issues and will be taking up the fight once we reconvene in the fall.
If legislation were a buffet, I would have chosen the spaghetti. But in politics, sometimes you have to simply eat the platter mom prepared.