Just about everyone in PA these days in concerned about the physical health of residents, but there are those who are also looking down the road at Pennsylvania’s long-term financial health. That certainly includes Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) who has been working for quite some time trying to find a way to prevent severe financial problems in PA.
Ryan sponsored HB 1995, which passed the PA House last week and now moves on to the Senate. He calls his bill the Keystone Solvency Operating Study, or SOS for short.
“Anybody with either Navy or a Marine Corp. or nautical background knows that the Solvency Operating Study acronym is SOS, which is Save our Ship,” Ryan told me. “That is a distress signal. I wanted to do it because I’m trying to get everybody in the Commonwealth–in the Executive branch, the Legislature and Judiciary–to understand the level of the financial problems we have.”
Rep. Ryan says that even with the problems with COVID-19, he’s still finding that many people view what’s going on as business as usual.. He’s trying to convince people that is not accurate. Ryan knows what he’s talking about. He’s spent 45 years as a Certified Public Accountant, trying to keep companies out of bankruptcy.
“The longer you wait to acknowledge the problems, the more severe the solutions will be,” he said. “When the solutions are severe with government, that usually means that people are going to get hurt. I can’t sit by and let that happen.”
HB 1995 is actually the start of a number of bills that will deal with how PA lawmakers and residents can solve the financial problems. As Ryan has proposed possible solutions in recent months, he’s faced resistance from residents that would be expected to pay more.
“The whole purpose of the study is so that we can get people to understand that a state can run out of money. They can go insolvent. The taxpayers don’t have unlimited barrels of money to keep funding this.”