Just asking.

Nearly 25,000 “nonessential” state employees were put on temporary furlough without pay at 12:01 a.m. today because Gov. Ed Rendell and Republican legislative leaders couldn’t agree on a new 2007-08 state budget last night.

However, there was some good news late last night also. The decision to furlough the workers will not affect the state’s five racetrack casinos, at least until a hearing tomorrow.

What the hell kind of state do we live in where casino workers, lottery workers and liquor store workers are considered “essential” and get to stay on the job, but custodians, drivers license workers, and technology workers are “non-essential”?

I’m so confused.  Is today opposite day?


  1. Ms. Caroline
    July 9, 2007 10:35 am

    Pennsylvania. We’ve got our priorities straight!

    July 9, 2007 10:39 am

    Pennsylvania: The Keyston-ed State

  3. Stasia
    July 9, 2007 10:39 am

    IIRC, lottery, and liquor stores costs are not part of the disputed budget because they are self-sufficient, as I understand it. So, they aren’t affected since they do not rely on the state budget to conduct normal operations.

  4. Darwin Police
    July 9, 2007 10:53 am

    All I know is that my commute this morning was 15 minutes shorter than usual because parkway work was considered “non-essential.” And to show my support for Pennsylvania’s ridiculous (but personally convenient) priorities, I’m going to buy a bottle of booze on the way home.

  5. spoon
    July 9, 2007 11:16 am

    If’n i coodent git mah hootch how’z I gunna spend mah wellfair?

    What would piss me off is if i had a family vacation planned to say ohhhhh PresqueIsle and when I showed up the gates were locked. I’d have to go all Clark W. Griswold on that Wally World!

  6. Ruby Vroom
    July 9, 2007 2:11 pm

    Speaking of construction, where’s the Mission Accomplished banner for the Homestead Grays bridge? I seem to remember a lot of excitement a few weeks ago about that never-ending project being completed, but it sure ain’t. WTF?

  7. Maria in Pgh
    July 9, 2007 3:00 pm

    I’m guessing that it’s because the lottery, liquor stores and casinos actually generate income and the state would be in even worse shape without that income…but you’re right that it *sounds* bad.

  8. SeanCollier
    July 9, 2007 3:13 pm

    I’m as partisan as anyone you’ll ever meet, but whatever the hell caused it, the fact that one half of the house and the governor just freakin’ walked out and refuse to talk is unacceptable. I don’t care if someone has a 36-hour filibuster going, sit in there and work it out. That’s how government works. Remember this come election time – at the site of a spat, members of our government got pissy and REFUSED TO GOVERN.

  9. Judge Rufus Peckham
    July 9, 2007 3:14 pm

    The drivers’ license bureau is closed but the state liquor stores are open. Hmm. Instead of “Don’t drink and drive,” the new slogan is “Don’t drive, but drink.”

  10. Pennsylvania politix
    July 9, 2007 3:25 pm

    OHH NOOOO, it’s state anarchy!

    and the fate of the Penguins new ice rink hangs in the wind…?

  11. NoSide15212
    July 9, 2007 4:31 pm

    Casino’s had their attorneys file an injunction which has allowed them to stay open at least for today. The LCB operates completely outside of the state budget as a stand alone entity (not unlike the Turnpike Commission) so it too is immune to the hair pulling, name-calling, and biting currently going on in the World’s Biggest Sandbox, Harrisburg. Nonetheless, the casinos were such a darling of Rendell, one wonders if they weren’t given specific instructions as to where to file for their injunction (judge shopping). After all, Eddie’s gotta keep his Town Car rollin’ on chromed 22’s, PittGirl.

    I have a more academic question: aside from the continued unrestricted flow of booze, gaming, lottery tickets, welfare checks and improved traffic flow, has anyone even noticed that the government shut down?

  12. returningBurgher
    July 9, 2007 6:10 pm

    i hope this issue is resolved soon, as I will be coming back and be needing a driver’s license from the great state of pennsylvania once again.

    quite crazy that you can’t get something essential at that done but you can buy liquor. what will i tell the policeman when he pulls me over?

  13. spoon
    July 9, 2007 6:49 pm

    “quite crazy that you can’t get something essential at that done but you can buy liquor. what will i tell the policeman when he pulls me over?”

    How about “Ize only had one drinkie occifer”

  14. toni
    July 9, 2007 6:59 pm

    SeanCollier, nice sentiment but Rendell can’t be re-elected…he already stated this is his last term. We’re stuck with him because a.) Philadelphia is a known hotbed of Dem voters and b.) the unions in Pittsburgh…aka, the Port Authority…came out inforce backing this yahoo. They voted him in because he showed up in his white horse in the 11th hour and gave ’em $$$.

    I used to be a card carrying blue collar registered Dem until I saw how badly Murphy, among others, destroyed my city. And now we have Lukey to carry on the shenanigans. I’m gunnin for all of em right now….better believe I vote. I wish DeWeese would get thrown outta Green County.

    July 10, 2007 9:53 am

    We’re used to the government not working, so the fact that they are “shut down” is really no difference – it was just “official” on Monday

  16. SeanCollier
    July 10, 2007 10:04 am


    you’re right, it’s local politics that makes one question the party alignment. On national and global issues, I’m a democrat. On local issues, everybody sucks at everything. Rendell or no Rendell, when your state representative has his town halls next cycle, be sure you ask “So about that time you got cranky and took your football and went home in the midst of a budget crisis?”

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll keep working for the county (woo-hoo! I’m essential! (Yes, I know that I’m a county employee and not a state employee, but I can still pretend.))

  17. suzanne
    July 11, 2007 10:27 am

    The state workers had to have somewhere to go on their furlough day….hence why the casinos were still up and running.