Pennsylvania Democrats say they've been left out of budget talks
HARRISBURG — House Democratic leaders say they've been shut out of state budget negotiations and operate on rumors and press reports. But a Republican spokesman said Democrats did it to themselves.
"We should be at the table," said Rep. Joe Markosek, of Monroeville, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
"It's government by guess," he said today.
Democrats are the minority party in both houses. Negotiations on a $27.3 billion budget have taken place between GOP leaders of both chambers and representatives of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, acknowledged that historically both Democrats and Republicans have shut out the minority party. But he said at a news conference the current situation is "over the top."
Dermody warned there will be "draconian cuts" in the budget and added Democrats "have some pretty good ideas" to improve it. In the same breath, he said, "This budget stinks."
Stephen Miskin, spokesman for House Republicans, said Democrats have told them they are going to vote against the budget.
"They took themselves out of it," Miskin said. "They didn't offer an alternative. They didn't offer suggestions.
"They've become professional critics," Miskin said.
He said Republicans while in the minority offered a budget alternative in the 2009 budget impasse of 101 days and GOP members had their ideas incorporated into recent budgets under Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.