Our opinion: Responsible coincidence

Late Monday night the Warren County School Board and Gov. Tom Corbett were doing something very similar at the same time.

They were hanging tough in the search for reasonable budgets.

In Corbett’s case, he told the General Assembly that he wouldn’t immediately sign a budget bill both houses had approved along party lines – ironically his party – because the bill he was presented did nothing to rein in the state’s out-of-control pension system.

At the same time, the Warren County School Board took its administration to task – albeit with kid gloves -for slipping expenditures into its proposed budget at the 11th hour, ultimately approving a spending plan that relies on a 1-mill increase in the tax rate, pared down from 2 mills.

We have been a frequent critic of both Corbett and the local school board over the last several years, but on this day we must commend both.

We aim our commendation at the school board for its due diligence in taking apart the budget line item by line item and asking the difficult questions about each before putting the spending plan on the books. It is still a tax increase – and we wish there were none – but thanks to its refusal to apply a rubber stamp to what it was presented, there will still be pain in this year’s tax bills, but not as much as there might have been.

And, while we still believe Gov. Corbett is wrong on some issues, we believe he is right on pension reform.

As we pointed out last week in this space, we believe the General Assembly has been a bit cowardly in its approach to coming up with a reasonable and responsible spending plan that looks past this fall’s elections.

By ignoring the call to reform the pension system, they have turned a blind eye to the future; they have ignored the long-term fiscal health of this commonwealth.

To his credit, the governor holds his fiscally responsible stand on pensions above his record of on-time budgets for the first three years of his term.