OUR OPINION: Awaiting A State Budget!

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In the meantime … in-between time … backed up for a second year are State budgets.

Because of this failure by the General Assembly and the Administration to bring Budget One to fruition (and it could happen again with deliberations for Budget Two), there are problems.

For instance, School Districts are cash-strapped. This was brought out by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who noted
before the House Appropriations Committee last week, school districts already struggling to stay solvent may run into more trouble when going to borrow again.

He told them, “Banks today cannot guarantee that there’s going to be a State budget. So school districts that have depleted their fund balances and already had one loan, I believe, if they need another second go-around, their interest rate will either be significantly higher or they may not get the loan.”

Pressure is mounting to nudge them all to action. Yet the lack of strong demonstrations in Harrisburg, here and in other major municipalities with financially strapped school districts preserves an eery silence – and a false peace on Capitol Hill.

Muddling up the finances of the Philadelphia School District was the recent Supreme Court decision removing from the School Reform Commission powers which had been given to them by the General Assembly.

This does not put an end to state control of the School District, but it leaves Philadelphia unclear exactly what powers the SRC actually wields. This only aggravates the financial picture which now adds pressure to City Council to find extra millions to keep the schools at a decent operating level.
This raises again the question: “Can we continue to raise taxes in this City without further impairing its desirability as a place to do business?”

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