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Last-minute legislature rushing to get budget done - abc27 WHTM

Last-minute legislature rushing to get budget done

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

June 30th comes every year.

And every lawmaker, plus the governor,  know it's the deadline for the budget.

"This is the week. There are 52 weeks in the year, but this is the week that really counts," said Senator Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster).

But reasonable adults might wonder why more work isn't done the previous 51 weeks to lessen the last minute rush?

"That's a great question," said Senator Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon). "I have to be careful to answer that. I thought we were a full-time legislature so I'll answer it that way."

"It's always frustrated me in my short tenure here in this building that we wait until this week to get heavy lifting done but we do," Brubaker said.

Down ornate hallways and behind closed Capitol doors, that heavy lifting's being done outside the public view.

And weighty issues like liquor privatization, transportation funding and public employee pension reform on the table along with the budget.

The governor wants them all by Sunday.

"The sad part of it is that a lot of things happen and maybe we're not as watchful as we should be because it's so fast and furious because you want to get it done," said Folmer.

Brubaker gave us an inkling of insight into why brinkmanship is the order of the day, why lawmakers are like college students who wait until the night before a term paper is due to even begin writing. 

He said crafty legislators can exchange a vote for something maybe they don't like, to extract  something they love. That leverage in late June doesn't exist in December or March.

"It is leverage," Brubaker said. "We should call it what it is. That's the way the political process works. I wish it didn't work that way but it does. But we still have a system where we can get something done in the end so I'm hopeful we can get this all wrapped up by June 30."

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