Pennsylvania’s fiscal watchdog is starting to growl about the state’s absentee spending plan.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat, said routine audits of school districts, starting now, will also consider the ramifications of the state budget impasse – including schools’ borrowing costs.
Finishing audits of all 500 school districts will take years, so the statewide cost to schools won’t be known for a while, but DePasquale said he’s putting negotiators on notice.
“Why do you think I’m announcing it now? To let the Legislature and the governor’s office know that I’m going to use this as a way to try to keep the public informed as to how much that stalemate’s costing the people of this state,” he said.
DePasquale, a former state House member who served three terms, also opined on what he called a “simple solution” to stalled talks.
“I think if everyone locked themselves in the governor’s residence for a weekend,” said DePasquale, “they could do it inside of a weekend, if they’re willing to do it.”
His prescription for a compromise was vague. He said a deal could include a shale tax, education funding, pension changes, and more convenience in state liquor stores.