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Pennsylvania deserves better from state leaders

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Posted by: Bernie Dagenais on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 2:00:00 pm

Pennsylvania deserves better from state leaders

Hosting a recent panel discussion of elected officials from Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties provided an enlightening opportunity for business leaders to hear a different perspective about the state budget impasse. (See photos, page 2)

This bi-partisan group of elected officials appeared to be as frustrated as anyone that Pennsylvania’s first term governor, Tom Wolf, and Republican leaders in the House and Senate continue to fail to reach compromise – more than four months after the July 1 deadline for passing a budget.

Partisans find it easy to blame the opposing party, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

 Gov. Wolf’s mistake started when he proposed an aggressive spending plan with complicated tax shifting components and more taxes overall and then de-emphasized the importance of getting a budget passed by the deadline. That impractical strategy has brought the politician who built his reputation as being pro schools to a point at which schools and social services are getting no funds from the state.

            On the other hand, Republican leaders' insistence on elevating liquor privatization to the status of key negotiating chip is disappointing. The debate over liquor control is a worthy one, but it should not be in the same league as ensuring that the state fulfill its responsibilities to fund public schools or enacting much-needed pension reform, for example.

            The governor's offers to compromise have so far fallen short in substance, but it’s clear enough that both sides will have to find middle ground that can be distasteful to both.

In business, when a deal turns sour and agreement can't be reached, the parties can often walk away. Government, however, is different. We need our governor and other elected officials to set aside their differences, do their job and pass a budget.

To read the entire October issue of the Main Line Business Monthly please click here 

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