Our opinion: Linking issues

Over the years we have periodically found fault with Sen. Joe Scarnati, the Brockway Republican, who is president pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate.

However, we would be remiss if we didn’t send a laurel his way this morning.

The issue is the upcoming budget session in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and what many people believe will be in Gov. Corbett’s budget address next week, in particular the governor’s plans with respect to transportation and state liquor sales.

There are strong indications from the administration and from friendly members of the House that the governor may tie his transporation funding plan to his initiative to privatize the sale of wine and liquor, the latter having failed in the previous session.

Earlier, in an interview in Philadelphia, the governor intimated that his proposal for education funding might be tied to a major restructuring of the state’s pension system.

The seeming incongruence of those four issues might make one believe that the governor may be inching close to a legislative technique popular in the U.S. Capitol: piggy-backing unrelated issues in a single piece of legislation. The gambit has been used liberally over the years in Washington, particularly in the case of earmarks where pork-barrel funding has been attached to some other bill as a way to garner that extra needed vote or guarantee that the not-wildly-popular spending measure sails through on the coattails of a more popular, bi-partisan proposal.

Scarnati said last week – and we believe correctly – the state’s transporation system is a higher priority than privatizing liquor sales, and the two should be considered separately. He did not indicate his position on either issue; after all, the governor hasn’t yet delivered his speech.

“We don’t need Washington-style politics in Harrisburg this legislative session,” Scarnati said. “People want results.”

Yes on both counts.