Boosting transportation funding, pension reform and privatizing the state liquor store system were among Gov. Tom Corbett’s top priorities when he unveiled his 2013-14 budget plan in February.
It was an ambitious plan.
Too ambitious for a governor who clearly lacks the clout he thinks he has.
Even with his Republican colleagues in control of both the state House and Senate, not one of those items reached his desk for a signature by Sunday’s budget deadline.
We have to wonder if Corbett could lead lemmings off a cliff.
It didn’t help that his lemmings couldn’t agree on a cliff.
GOP leaders in the House sent the Senate a liquor store privatization plan, while the Senate’s leadership sent the House a transportation plan.
Neither caucus wanted the other to tinker much with the bills, and the resulting standoff doomed both. (Corbett’s pension reform bill never gained traction in either chamber.)
How did this fiasco happen?
If you ask state Rep. Ron Miller, the Jacobus Republican lays the blame for the transportation bill’s demise squarely on … Democrats.
“There was not a single vote coming out of the Democratic caucus,” he said.
Again, Republicans control both chambers and set the agendas.
Since when do they need Democratic votes to pass laws?
They didn’t need them to pass last year’s controversial voter ID law, for example, or the lame natural gas extraction fee law a year earlier. Those were both mostly party-line votes.
Granted, it would have been helpful if some Democrats had supported the $2 billion House bill to deal with Pennsylvania’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.
But did the Republican leadership seriously try to work with any Democrat to earn his or her vote? We find that unlikely, given the difficulty it had with its own rank and file.
No, this mess belongs to Corbett and Republicans legislators — and the House members shoulder more blame than the senators.
The Senate took the initiative on a safety issue that affects every resident of Pennsylvania.
The House, on the other hand, made liquor store privatization its priority.
While we believe the state should get out of the booze business — no one’s life is at risk if it doesn’t.
The same can’t be said about the sorry state of our roads and bridges.
Some Republicans say they believe they can get the job done on both bills in the fall.
We hope so, for all our sakes.
But after this, we don’t share that optimism.
The York Dispatch