From: "John Hemington" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Feb 20, 2016 1:17 PM
Subject: An Immodest Proposal
To: "John Hemington" <email@example.com>
An Immodest Proposal
The time has come for some concerted action on the part of the people of Pennsylvania. By now it is quite clear that the PA legislature has gone on strike against the very citizens it is sworn to represent. As the end of February approaches there is still no completed budget – for this there is no conceivable excuse. The legislature has clearly decided that ideological purity and political trumping take precedence over its duty to represent the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Absent legislative action on the budget state agencies, municipalities, school districts and organizations daily struggle to carry out their mandated responsibilities – and it is a losing battle. These are desperate times for the citizens of Pennsylvania and desperate times call for desperate measures to reign in this out of control legislative body. What is needed is an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution to clarify legislative responsibility and provide sanctions for the failure of the legislature to faithfully carry out its duties. This, however, will not be an easy task to accomplish as the Constitution provides no means for a citizen initiated referendum for constitutional amendments. As it stands, it means that all such amendments must be initiated and passed by the legislature before any can be voted on and approved by the citizenry.
Since the proposed amendment would not be viewed favorably by those legislators who have created this crisis, the only way to force the issue is through a general citizen uprising to insist that this be done. To be sure, the legislature's failure to produce a meaningful budget has impacted Pennsylvanians of all political persuasions and given proper impetus such an amendment proposal should be able to achieve broad-based support throughout the Commonwealth. In that light here is the proposed amendment:
Be it hereby resolved that it is a primary responsibility of the legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to approve an annual budget within the time frame specified by law; and failure to approve such a budget within the specified time frame is a dereliction of duty.
In the event that such budget shall not be approved by the date specified in the law, on the day following the date specified, all pay, benefits and expenses of whatever nature and for whatever purpose due members of the legislature and the governor shall be suspended and forfeited for such period as the state budget is not completed and signed.
Upon approval and signature by the governor of a completed budget all such pay, benefits and expenses shall be recommenced, but under no circumstances will any of the forfeited pay, benefits and expenses be reimbursed for the period during which the budget remained uncompleted and unsigned.
It is long past time for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to wake up and take whatever action is necessary to make the legislature realize that their failure and refusal to do their jobs will no longer be tolerated by those they have been elected to represent. It is no longer sufficient to hold the entire Commonwealth hostage to impose some misguided ideological purity on the opposition – regardless of which political party is responsible.
John E. Hemington, Jr.
February 20, 2016