Friday, July 31, 2009

PA Soldiers Losing State Stipends

The effect of the commonwealth's ongoing budget impasse is being felt as far away as Iraq. A significant number of Pennsylvania National Guard troops deployed there are state employees.
They've been getting a 500-dollar stipend from the commonwealth each month but like all other government payments, that's been halted. The last checks, until a spending plan is passed, went out a week ago.
Sergeant Robert Meghahen a corrections officer from Altoona, says he's thankful he's receiving full military pay during the impasse...

"Like right now, I know?I feel it's going to be passed by the time I get back to work. And it's not going to have that big of an adverse effect on me, the state budget, but I'm just really concerned about my friends who have kids and mortgages and stuff."

Sergeant Richard Snyder of Lebanon, who works for PennDOT, says the budget negotiations and possible layoffs leave him uneasy...

"I'm already having a hard time even though I'm making pretty good money now with my family. But I have five kids to support, so what's going to happen when we get back?"

Soldiers are regularly checking the news to keep up to speed with negotiations.
Many of them say they blame Governor Rendell for the impasse, and are angry their friends and co-workers aren't getting paychecks.
Rendell would not definitively say whether the stipends would be restored in a temporary "bridge" budget he could sign next week.

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