State Government spending freeze

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House and senate pass a budget plan that Gov. Corbett will not sign

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Wolf issued a spending freeze on all agencies under his jurisdiction. The freeze impacts hiring, spending and travel, with some exceptions. For instance, PennDOT will continue all road and bridge services as it has throughout the impasse. The hiring freeze permits hiring related to public safety, law enforcement, corrections and other critical functions. The travel ban permits travel that is “mission critical” to the agency and inherent to the job of an employee.

The budget impasse has now reached 93 days.

Here is the order issued by the Governor:

In light of the continued budget impasse, the following steps are effective immediately for all agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction:

Hiring Freeze

A general freeze on all hiring is effective immediately.  This applies to all salaried and wage positions.  Any offers of employment already made as of today can continue to be honored.  Additionally, jobs that have been posted and, at a minimum, have reached the interview state of the process can be filled if absolutely critical to your operations.   Please note this freeze applies to all funding streams.

The following categories of positions will be exempt from the general hiring freeze:

  • Those positions providing direct care to patients, residents and clients.
  • Positions directly engaged in law enforcement, public safety and corrections.
  • Revenue generating and revenue collections positions.

Agencies will not be permitted to hire annuitants unless they fall under one of the exemptions listed above.  Additionally, agencies should discontinue the employment of annuitants and temporary employees that are not absolutely essential to your operations.

Under no circumstances are agencies permitted to enter into or expand service purchase or staff augmentation contracts to circumvent the hiring freeze.

Travel Ban

Until further notice, all agencies are prohibited from incurring travel costs which includes all air travel, ground travel, lodging, parking, tolls, subsistence and/or any other miscellaneous travel expenses.  This prohibition is for both in-state and out-of-state travel.

Exceptions to this travel ban are limited to:

  • Essential travel for an employee which is mission critical to the agency and inherent to the job (for example: auditors, inspectors, examiners, enforcement and collections agents).
  • Travel completely funded by third-party dollars.  It is only permissible to use state funds to cover upfront costs if the total expenditure will be reimbursed by the third party.

Any travel traditionally paid for by the commonwealth for non-commonwealth employees who are engaged in the furtherance of the commonwealth’s official business (for example: contractors and witnesses testifying on behalf of the commonwealth, etc.) may continue if it is absolutely essential and mission critical to your agency.

Reservations made prior to today should be cancelled, unless additional costs would result from the cancellation.  This includes any out-of-state travel that had been previously approved by the Governor’s Office.  Airline reservations should not be cancelled if the cancellation results in a fee.  Lodging and transportation reservations made prior to today may be honored to the extent they are associated with the pre-paid travel and/or the commonwealth would incur cost to cancel (for example: non-refundable training or conference costs)

Travel bookings and expense claims from this point forward will be monitored for compliance with these prohibitions.   Questions related to travel can be directed to the Office of the Budget at

General Purchasing Ban

The requirement to continue curtailing any purchase of goods or services which are not absolutely critical to your operations continues, and all discretionary spending remains prohibited

Questions related to human resources and hiring may be directed to Jim Honchar at Travel-related and general budget questions may be directed to Brenda Warburton at

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support of the Governor and the administration’s efforts to reach a budget agreement that best serves the needs of all Pennsylvanians.

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