Satire/Odd News

An escalating situation: The City & State guide to reaching the next level of budget negotiations

Some possible (though improbable) roadblocks to the already-late state budget

The escalators in the East Wing of the Pennsylvania Capitol.

The escalators in the East Wing of the Pennsylvania Capitol. Justin Sweitzer

For the second year in a row, Gov. Josh Shapiro and top legislators in the Capitol were unable to get an agreed-upon budget across the finish line by the constitutional deadline of July 1 despite lawmakers remaining optimistic about closed-door talks last week. 

Many around the budget talks are anticipating a deal to come together quickly this week – but there are many things, whether they be fanatical or fictitious, that could continue to stand in the way of a deal over in Dauphin County.

In the meantime, City & State has come up with several potential stumbling blocks keeping the state budget from passing in Harrisburg. Let us know what you think and which prediction is the most plausible. 

Leaky roof

We’ve seen this one before. The storms this past weekend could have exacerbated the already shaky foundation of the state House of Representatives. Late last year, water damage in the chamber’s ceiling threatened to further delay the state budget, but lawmakers and Shapiro ultimately were able to finalize the budget before repairs began in earnest. 

Leaks of all sorts can throw a wrench into the policymaking process – is a summertime shower raining on a potential parade in the state House? You would think if legislators need to get something important done, they’d keep at least one in the chamber.  

Sixers free agency

Who among us hasn’t been distracted at work by breaking news? It’s no different in the state capital, where the arrival of PG could be getting in the way of GSD. Anyone watching the Philadelphia 76ers free agent wire would’ve been up late this past weekend, with All-Star guard Paul George agreeing to terms with the team early Monday morning. 

The Sixers got their star to sign on the dotted line. Does that mean the floor general in the governor’s office will take his shot this week, too? 

Congressional copycat 

We can’t say we want Harrisburg to take after Washington, D.C., but the similarities aren’t a secret. Federal lawmakers took months to finalize a late budget, crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s months after the budgetary deadline but before a government shutdown took effect. 

It could be monkey see, monkey do in the wild kingdom that is modern politics. 

Staffers stuck on escalator 

Has anyone checked in on the staffers? The most believable outcome would be staffers carrying critical paperwork getting stuck on the East Wing Rotunda escalator for days. 

Now that it’s Monday, we hope maintenance workers have been able to keep the oft-broken escalator back up and running – the entire state budget could depend on it.