Solving Pennsylvania’s Budget Woes

Increased Female Representation


  • Benjamin Melusky



Pennsylvania has a long history of failing to pass its budget by the start of the next fiscal year, often plunging the state in prolonged periods of budget impasse, and subjecting the state to a myriad of social, economic, and political consequences. This article explores the history of budget impasses in the Commonwealth, including their causes and consequences, and advances a growing trend in American politics as a potential solution to this problem—the election of more women to the General Assembly. I suggest that the addition of more female lawmakers will make the budgetary process more collegial as these political actors are prone to reach across the aisle and compromise due to patterns of socially reinforced behavioral expectations, thus bringing budgetary stalemates to a quicker resolution. The consequences of prolonged impasses on the target populations of importance to female lawmakers are explored as an impetus for engaging in this behavior.