With no Pa. budget in place, what now?

    Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, left, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, Senate President Pro Tem Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, lead a news conference after Republican leaders engineered passage of the budget, liquor privatization, and pension bills, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)

    Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, left, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, Senate President Pro Tem Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, lead a news conference after Republican leaders engineered passage of the budget, liquor privatization, and pension bills, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)

    Late budgets aren’t the statewide shock they used to be.

    Sure, Pennsylvania loses the authority to make certain payments. Standoffs in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s meant thousands of state workers went unpaid.

    But recent court rulings say the state has to pay its employees’ salaries. Other critical services will have to be funded as well.

     

    “I don’t think people should be terribly panicked or concerned,” said Christopher Craig, chief counsel to the state treasurer. “It will take quite some time for any real impact to be noticeable.”

    The governor’s office said Wednesday that state parks will remain open, and various public benefits will be paid, such as unemployment compensation, food stamps, and medical assistance. Certain prison and security costs will also be covered – “anything that’s really related to the health, safety, and welfare of the commonwealth,” said Craig.

    “We’ve been down this road, so we’re a lot more adept at it,” Craig added, “including provisions in state contracts that relate to budgetary impasse in order to maintain continuity of services.”

    A budget stalemate lasting weeks or more than a month would hurt nonprofits and school districts operating on tight margins.

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