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Making a Budget Impasse, Passable

The high school football fields have come back to life across the West Branch Valley, and next week, I’ll be writing about the Little League World Series and all the good things going on in our area. I would much rather write about sports than the problems facing our Nation and who deserves the credit for them. Incidentally, the Fed raised the interest rate another quarter-point last week, which is not a sign of an improving economy, and gas prices continue to go up. We’re back to that point where it takes me over $100 to fill my tank. The assault on the wallet of the everyday hard-working American continues.

I cannot imagine being a parent trying to get the kids ready for back to school with the cost increases in everything, let alone if you have a big family heading back to the classroom. That doesn’t even get you to the grocery store, and you have got to be kidding me with the prices I see every week. I better leave this topic, or it will turn into a testimonial on how, on top of paying these ridiculous prices, they want you to work for the grocery store of your choosing by bagging your own groceries, checking yourself out, and being financially responsible for the cart you use. This is while multiple grocery store employees huddle together and watch the self-service grocery shopping process.

What will be next? They will probably want you to bring your own grocery bags or pay for the ones you need. I get it; reusable bags are good for the economy, and let’s push the shopper that way. I have enough trouble remembering my wallet, let alone shopping bags. I better stop there.

This is where I should remind everyone to be kind to those working not only at the grocery store but wherever you shop. Please remember they are not setting the policies of their employer. They are there just trying to make a living and do their job. Most will help you with whatever you need. Stay with the Golden Rule I so often mention.

The current event I want to hit on this week is our state’s recent budget impasse and how to solve that problem for the future. I don’t think most, including myself, understand the economic impact this event can have, especially when it occurs at a state level. The funding often cut when this occurs can have a dramatic effect on agencies that take care of our elderly and children. It can make life tougher on those everyday hard-working folks who are just trying to get make ends meet by taking away programs that are most needed. On both the state and federal levels, a budget impasse can affect the paycheck of those working to keep fellow citizens safe.

The above-mentioned all occur while most elected officials don’t worry about what happens financially if they get to the drop-dead date and no budget has been passed. And yes, I understand Governor Shapiro signed the state’s main budget, and they’re working to get this all ironed out. This is exactly my point; it shouldn’t take until after the date to solve it.

How about our elected get proactive so the budget is actually done and passed before the date required? Wouldn’t this be truly beneficial to the American citizens, whether it happened in Washington or Harrisburg?

I understand this would require compromise and checking the political agendas at the door. As well as the pork belly add-ons that seem to become a part of every budget, becoming a thing of the past.

The answer to this problem is very simple: getting it done is probably impossible. When you reach a month prior to that drop dead budget deadline, our elected, whether in Washington or Harrisburg, don’t get paid. I know what many of you are thinking: that’s not a big problem for many of our elected, especially in Washington, because they’ve built a lifetime’s worth of wealth, and going without a paycheck will not hurt them. This is the catch — a month prior to that deadline date, their entire staff and anyone working for them do not get paid. Make them look the people in the eye that need that paycheck each and every day as the clock is ticking. The pay freeze a month prior makes sure it will get done a month ahead of time. I just can’t imagine anyone would allow the staff that completely support them to go unpaid as they sat fat and happy playing partisan budget time politics. We would probably never hear the words budget impasse again.

In closing things out this week, a tip of my Webb Weekly cap with the American Flag on the side to State Rep Jamie Flick for taking the time to sit down with me to explain both the budget impasse and some of the repercussions in a Cliffs Notes manner. I also want to note that Representative Flick went on record that he would not accept a paycheck if a state budget could not be agreed upon. If you missed it, the information about this was on page 40 of last week’s issue.

I’m out of words for this week, let’s all be safe out there.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb