(WHTM)– As the calendar turns to August, the Pennsylvania state budget standoff drags into its second month.
House Democrats kicked off what they’re calling the save our schools tour in Philadelphia Monday afternoon. Education is set to get lots of money if and when a budget gets done. But a small slice of education, vouchers, continues to be the biggest stumbling block.
House Democratic leadership went back to school, shining a light on crumbling buildings, the need for more education money, and a still undone state budget. They argue both chambers passed it, the Senate just needs to sign it.
“And I think that the longer that we wait for that simple act to happen, the worse it is for the people we serve in our districts,” State Rep. Elizabeth Fielder (D-Philadelphia) said.
Money to public schools, higher education, and counties, will stop if the standoff doesn’t end.
“I hesitate to even list it because it really would be an absolutely terrible situation the longer it goes,” Fielder said.
“Instead of focusing on saving our schools, House Democrats should join us in trying to save our students,” House Republican spokesman Jason Gottesman said.
Legislative Republicans blame House Democrats for refusing to accept $100 million in school vouchers that are holding up an otherwise-agreed-to $45.5 billion budget.
“Unfortunately, House Democrats are leading the charge in a total war on school choice,” Gottesman said.
But Senate Pro Temp Kim Ward (R) signaled the war won’t drag on and she’ll sign off sometime in August.
“We won’t leave Pennsylvania hanging,” Ward said.
Until then, Democrats will blame her for the standoff saying she alone can end it and she’s choosing not to.