HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Today marks the debut of ABC27’s new local policy and politics show, This Week in Pennsylvania. Dennis Owens will host a variety of community leaders and shakers who will talk about issues that are important to you and your family.
This weekend, Dennis spoke with Auditor General Eugene DePasquale about the state budget deficit — how it affects you, your wallet and your community.
When asked why he is requesting to audit the lawmakers’ reserve fund DePasquale said, “I believe the public has a right to now what is happening with that nearly 120-million dollar surplus that they have. There’s no reason they should be hoarding that much money considering the state’s fiscal situation.”
Leaders on both sides of the political spectrum have voiced concern over this request.
House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton stated, “We appreciate the Auditor General’s perspective but there’s simply not an appropriate role for him here. Legislators in both parties respect the constitutional separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches and will continue to abide by it.”
DePasquale holds, what some say, is a controversial view on marijuana and the state’s budget. He believes the drug should be legalized for not only medical but recreational use as well.
The auditor general also hopes to restructure children and youth services within the state. He says there have been over 42-thousand unanswered calls to the child abuse hotline, understaffing and “many kids falling through the cracks.”
DePasquale hopes to remedy this problem by examining where funds can be placed to help “give guidance to the legislature and the governor on how to fix these gaps so our kids are taken care of.”
Dennis also spoke with political analysts Brittany Crampsie and Christopher Nicholas and asked for their opinions of the Auditor General’s political stances.
Democratic-leaning Crampsie believes DePasquale has a lot to offer the state and has “restored” public trust.
Nicholas, on the other hand, thinks DePasquale is stepping out of his bounds and is “bored” in his position.
To keep on top of the issues that affect you and your family, tune in every Sunday at 11 a.m. for the latest on This Week in Pennsylvania with Dennis Owens.