Argall Votes to Keep Government Programs, Services in Business

HARRISBURG – Seeking to keep vital government programs and services operating while budget negotiations continue, State Senator David G. Argall (R-29) voted yesterday to override a number of Governor Rendell’s recent line-item vetoes of Senate Bill 850.

Despite unanimous Republican support in the Senate, the veto overrides failed when the majority of Democrats voted against the measures, which requires a two-thirds majority. Had it succeeded in both the Senate and House, funding would have begun flowing to programs that the Governor eliminated.

Argall said that the Governor is trying to create a crisis atmosphere by holding a number of vital programs and services hostage, including education assistance grants, drug and alcohol treatment programs, veterans outreach services and domestic violence and rape crisis programs.

“I don’t believe it is at all appropriate that the Governor has attempted to first utilize our state parks as hostages, then tens of thousands of our state employees,” Argall said. “Now, he is holding our preschool children, our public school students, our public libraries, our college students and people in real need who depend upon our county social service agencies are being held as hostages in order to blackmail us into raising the income tax and a host of other taxes,” Argall added.

Contact: Nick Troutman
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Argall voted to reinstate funding for a number of core government services that have been left in limbo because of the budget impasse.

Among the line items which the governor vetoed despite the fact that Senate Bill 850 funded them at exactly the amount he recommended:

  • Homeless Assistance, $25.6 million
  • Veterans’ Educational Assistance, $7.0 million
  • Veterans’ Outreach Services, $1.7 million
  • Veterans’ Assistance, $428,000
  • Disabled Veterans’ Transportation, $350,000
  • Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Services, $19.6 million

Override votes also took place on several additional line items under which the lack of state funding is having an immediate and dramatic negative impact on Pennsylvania residents, including:

  • PHEAA Grants to Students, $386.2 million
  • Community Mental Retardation Programs, $158.4 million
  • Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, $9.9 million

“There are two college students in my home, one a freshman, and one a junior,” Argall said. “I don’t believe that my son should be held as a budget hostage. I don’t believe that my daughter should be held as a budget hostage. I don’t believe that any of our 165,000 PA college students and their parents should be held as hostages by the Governor for one more day,” Argall added.

Argall added that there is plenty of existing funding for the programs that Senators tried to restore, but the Governor chose not to fund these services.