Debt, health care and pensions.
Until the state of Pennsylvania stops paying sharply more each year on those items and increases tax collections with an improved economy, there will be more budget messages like Tuesday's from Gov. Tom Corbett.
Corbett presented his second straight responsible and disciplined budget this week.
In what should surprise no one, Republicans generally liked the $27.1 billion plan, and Democrats, including our own Rep. Rick Mirabito, were disappointed.
In our view, it's perfectly fine to quibble with the governor's choices for which areas to make the biggest spending cuts. In the case of this year's budget, higher education financial aid, funding to Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh and some human services areas appeared to endure the most stringent budget adjustments.
But a lot of these areas particularly the education entities were lavished with generous spending emphasis for eight years by the previous governor. Perhaps more discipline during that time would put those in charge of these programs and universities in a better position to endure the cuts of today.
The governor has to cut somewhere until the budget shortfalls end. And, in fact, the budget projects a $93 million surplus June 30. Two years to clean up a fiscal mess eight years in the making is pretty good.
Our local public schools appeared to get a break on subsidies, with those increasing $45 million to $5.4 billion that's nearly 20 percent of the budget but the loss of $100 million in grants for full-day kindergarten will make for some tough decisions by school districts.
It's worth understanding that no one really thinks public education, or financial aid for higher education, or human services programs aren't critical elements for state government support. But the philosophy of outspending rational revenue expectations every year had to end and Gov. Corbett seems willing to take the heat for being the one to change that culture.
We support much of what he is trying to do with this second budget. Those who don't like the plan would have some credibility if, for instance, they were willing to change the state's many sweetheart pension rules to attack that looming crisis. It's stuff like that that creates the debt that leads to the tough decisions included in Tuesday's budget proposal.