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sdelozie@pahousegop.com
Mid-State Lawmakers Call on House Democrat Appropriations Committee Chairman and the Governor to Pay State Employees
7/22/2009
As the state budget impasse enters its fourth week, several mid-state lawmakers today continued to raise concerns about the number of state employees being affected by payless paydays. As a way to assist nearly 2,200 state employees, Reps. Glen Grell (R-Hampden Twp.), Sheryl Delozier (R-Lower Allen Twp.), Ron Marsico (R-Lower Paxton Twp.), Will Gabig (R-Carlisle), Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon), Mark Keller (R-Perry), Sue Helm (R-Susquehanna Twp.) and Rosemarie Swanger (R-Lebanon) are calling on House Democrat Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) and Gov. Ed Rendell to advance legislation to pay state workers in eight non-general fund departments within state government.
 
Under House Bills 1419, 1420, 1421, 1422, 1423, 1424, 1425 and 1663, the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the Pennsylvania Department of State, the Workers Compensation Administration within the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Pennsylvania Office of Small Business Advocate within the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board are funded by separate accounts not within the General Fund budget but require legislative action by the General Assembly. Combined, these departments employee 2,117 state workers.
 
“State employees are suffering the brunt of the budget impasse that is escalating as the General Assembly and the governor continue to buck heads over the 2009-10 state budget,” Grell said. “It’s completely inappropriate for the Commonwealth to withhold pay from employees who have been reporting and continue to report to work serving the people of Pennsylvania.”
 
“Although this number pales in comparison to the nearly 77,000 people employed by the Commonwealth, it would be a step in the right direction to get workers paid again,” Grell said. “I still stand by my original statement that if people are working, they should be paid in full and on time.”
 
“It is unfair to force state workers who have no say in the state budget process, to be the without pay for the work they complete,” Delozier said. “They have put their time and effort into providing services for Pennsylvanians and they should not be forced to take out loans to help support their families when keeping their money from them is unnecessary.”
 
“The bottom line is that the House Democrat Appropriations Committee chairman and the governor need to stop imprisoning our state workers. They should not be used as collateral in their budget game. The governor may not know how much is in his paycheck but, these state workers do know how much they get paid and they depend on that pay. Some of them may be living paycheck-to-paycheck and every penny of their salary is crucial for them to keep from spiraling into a dark abyss of unpaid bills, penalty fees, foreclosure, repossession or bankruptcy,” said Marsico. “These state employees are doing a job. They deserve to get paid for their work. The House Democrat Appropriations Committee chairman and the governor need to wake up and realize that these are real lives they are messing with and stop this disastrous situation immediately.”
 
“Forcing state employees to work without pay is causing unimaginable harm to workers and their families,” said Gingrich. “The budget impasse is particularly destructive in the current recession. Action must be taken to lift this burden and pay our workers.”
 
“We must do everything possible to ensure that state employees continue to receive their paychecks,” Keller said.  “I am frustrated with the premise that the governor continues to withhold their pay at no fault of their own.  It’s despicable and he should be ashamed of using state workers as leverage.”
 
“Out state employees report to work every day and do the job they are expected to do.  They should not be penalized because the Legislature and the governor have not passed a budget,” Helm said.  “As a state legislator my job is to pass a balanced budget, and since we have not met this deadline this year, it is my belief that only state legislators should not be paid until a budget is passed.  Governor, do not hold state employees hostage, pay them today!”
 
“Failing to pay state workers is completely unnecessary because of existing, stopgap legislation that has not been brought to the House floor,” said Swanger. “Under the Rendell administration, it has been government by crisis when negotiating budgets. We do not need to create further crises in the lives of state employees.”
 
“Just like everyone else, they have families to feed, mortgages to pay and utility bills that are due,” Grell said. “I encourage the Appropriations Committee chairman to move these bills, which do not rely upon the General Fund budget. Prompt action by the Senate and the governor would reduce the number of unpaid state employees.”
 
Grell noted that although the House, Senate and the governor have philosophical differences regarding the state budget, state employees should not be caught in the middle, suffering without income which they have earned.
 
 
Rep. Glen Grell
87th District
Rep. Sheryl Delozier
88th District
Rep. Ron Marsico
105th District
Rep. Will Gabig
199th District
Rep. Mauree Gingrich
101st District
Rep. Mark Keller
86th District
Rep. Sue Helm
104th District
Rep. RoseMarie Swanger
102nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Tim Eller, teller@pahousegop.com, (717) 260-6242
Caucus site: PAHouseGOP.com