Corbett holding out for budget that includes some answers
We are supposed to have a state budget today.
Not without Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature.
And we, the shareholders in the state of Pennsylvania’s government, have a right to be upset at this annual political tug-of-war that leaves the state budget hanging by a thread.
But just who should we be upset with?
You can take the convenient route if you wish. The Republicans control the state House and the governor’s chair.
Their leadership shut Democrats out of talks late last week, a tactic we don’t approve of, and today there is no budget.
But, as is almost always the case in Pennsylvania politics, it’s not quite that simple.
Democrats continue to resist attaching privatization of the liquor system as a means of raising revenue and reforming of the state’s underfunded pension system.
Gov. Tom Corbett remains steadfast in his belief that these things will only get done when they are attached to a budget quandary.
Democrats, meanwhile, wanted to solve the funding shortfall in the state budget by instituting a severance tax on gas drilling in addition to the impact fees companies already pay.
Republicans don’t want to raise any taxes.
You can choose your villain yourself, but just taxing gas companies at the risk that Pennsylvania’s economic strong suit will leave the state doesn’t seem like a strong plan.
Especially when it’s compared against the prospect of starting to solve pension problems, not raising taxes and ridding the state of its liquor system.
Corbett is holding back his budget approval pen in hopes of a long-term solution to pension problems and privatization of the liquor store system. It’s a stand that rests on shaky political legs, but we admire it much more than the same old Pennsylvania solution of more taxes on the same old whipping boys.
And for those decrying the one-time revenues being tapped to balance this budget, there’s a simple solution: Approve the long-overdue privatization of liquor stores.
You get a revenue fix now, get out of the liquor business and have a steady stream of liquor-generated revenue coming in for the foreseeable future.