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County Officials Urge State Lawmakers To Pass Budget On Time

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Republican lawmakers, who control the state legislature, are divided over how to fund an agreed-upon $31.9 billion state budget that's supposed to be in place by Saturday, July 1.

The deadlock angers local officials.

"It really makes me angry. I pass my budget on time," said Sandie Egley, chair of the Beaver County Commission.

Wednesday afternoon, KDKA political editor Jon Delano moderated a roundtable of the three women who chair the Boards of Commissioners in Beaver, Butler and Westmoreland counties: Sandie Egley of Beaver, Leslie Osche of Butler, and Gina Cerilli of Westmoreland.

They each had strong comments about Harrisburg's failure to pass a budget on time.

"If they don't pass that budget, that affects what we do," added Egley.

One sticking point appears to be allowing slot-machine style video gambling in bars, truck stops, and those with liquor licenses.

That provision is favored by the House, but not the Senate.

Whatever the hold-up, local commissioners say a budget delay will affect county services -- especially human services.

"If a budget doesn't go through, it's the most vulnerable in our county that will be affected by it. It's the seniors, senior centers," said Cerilli.

And commissioners were united in calling on state lawmakers to do a stopgap if they miss the June 30 deadline.

"We all made it very clear in Harrisburg on our trips there that, if you're not going to pass the budget, you better make a move that's at least going to keep the money flowing, especially the federal money," said Osche.

And if that's not enough, local counties are prepared to take out loans, even though their taxpayers end up paying the interest.

So the message to state lawmakers was clear.

"You know what," said Egley. "You were elected to do a job. Do the job."

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