A little reason would go a long way for Gov. Wolf
Gov. Tom Wolf has some big-ticket items on his shopping list of potential goals in his second term.
They include an increase in the minimum wage, expansion of background checks on firearms purchases, overhaul of how public schools are funded and imposition of a tax on Marcellus Shale production on top of the present impact fee.
That’s according to an interview with The Associated Press in which he answered, “I don’t know” when asked about the prospects of achieving those goals.
We don’t know, either, but Wolf holds the answer.
It’s not that the ideas themselves are inappropriate.
The more important element is the degree to which Wolf pushes for these things.
The state would benefit from a minimum wage hike, but a $15 an hour minimum wage would cripple many of its businesses and inflate unemployment.
Background checks on firearms purchases are worth a look, but anything close to infringement on gun rights will be a nonstarter.
Any overhaul of how public schools are funded should start with better use of how existing funds are being used, with more attention needed to technical education that will be a main driver of future employment.
As for a gas severance tax, Wolf and lawmakers need to be very careful in the handling of one of the state’s top economic drivers given the competition from neighboring states.
He came into office four years ago promising to be an unconventional government and then went too far trying to prove it with an attempted tax structure overhaul and budget demands that resulted in budget delays that were a national embarrassment.
Wolf has compromised somewhat with Republicans and others in the Legislature to allow expansion of gambling and changes in the state’s system of pension benefits and wine and liquor sales.
Regarding pensions, much more needs to be done.
Regarding liquor sales, we believe the state should get out of that business and sell licenses to generate revenue.
As for a point of agreement, Wolf and lawmakers should continue to push for legislation that will combat opioid addiction.
There’s a menu that can be agreed upon that would result in much advancement for the state in the coming four years.
But if Wolf pushes too radically on his agenda items and is unwilling to listen to the more substantive measures from the Legislature, these four years will be a lot like the ones that preceded it – uneven and mostly unproductive.