Scranton Times-Tribune: Editorial: Clock Ticks on Education Legislators Don’t Miss a Payday
State leaders have spent the summer posturing about the state budget rather than adopting it. They have the luxury to do so. Even though there is no law establishing tax rates, taxes continue to be collected. Everyone in state government has been paid over the six weeks that the commonwealth has operated without a budget.
When the budget finally is passed, in effect it will be retroactive to July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.
But for some citizens of Pennsylvania, the clock can’t be turned back. Young children cannot regain learning opportunities that are lost due to the failure of adult politicians to adopt a budget on time.
Even with a budget in force, only one in six Pennsylvania 3- and 4-year-olds has access to preschool. Republican lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf have proposed funding increases to make preschool somewhat more available, but even those marginal improvements can’t occur without a budget, and the opportunity could be lost forever to kids who are eligible now.
Mr. Wolf’s proposed budget includes $120 million in increases for pre-K access. Pre-K PA, which advocates early-learning programs, estimated that $400 million is needed over the next four years just to provide pre-kindergarten for children most at risk of academic failure. The Republican budget has countered with a $30 million increase.
Read the full editorial here.