The increased revenue collections above budgeted amounts to the state's coffers in March and April is creating an interesting quandry.
Republicans in the state Senate have advanced a plan to increase Gov. Tom Corbett's spending proposal by a half-billion dollars.
The proposal calls for distribution of the half billion to bolster allocations to higher education, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schooling and county administrated social service programs.
The Senate would restore half of the $100 million "accountability" grants that helped fund full-day kindergarten and would dismantle a proposed new block-grant program into which Gov. Corbett wanted to combine public school aid with transportation and other costs.
The Senate wants to make those things separate line items.
Corbett didn't seem to be on board with the plan, with aides saying the Senate's revised spending plan isn't sustainable after the coming year.
His reluctance is due in part to the growing cost of public employee pensions, debt service and other mandated expenses.
Curiously, the Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the Senate's budget adjustments were developed in "close communication" with the Corbett administration and GOP leaders.
The areas where the Senate wants to restore money closely mirror what we've advocated as the first areas of funding restoration when the state is on better fiscal ground, although we would weight more of the funding toward social service programs that have fewer funding sources.
Unfortunately, a decade of irresponsibility has left the Corbett administration with the heavy responsibility of cleaning up a mess before it's too big to clean up.
The state's looming pension debt is among the more vexing nightmares haunting Pennsylvania's future.
What a shame it is that the irresponsibility by a previous administration as well as the Legislature leaders of the past decade has put Pennsylvania in a place where the people who most deserve to benefit from a revenue windfall won't.