Time to get serious - about serious issues - in Pa.

Here's something to ponder as you head to your local beer distributor to buy a six-pack.

No, that's not a typo. You can do that now.

You can also buy a six-pack at many local supermarkets. Even a bottle of wine.

But you can't buy beer at the Wawa or 7-Eleven. Unless you happen to live out in Concord, where Wawa is starting to dabble with beer sales at one of their wine stores.

Pennsylvania is slowly but surely crawling out of the Dark Ages.

But it still has serious problems, issues that need to be addressed by our solons in Harrisburg.

Like this little issue. Stop us if you've heard this before.

Pennsylvania is broke.


Yes, in the Keystone State version of a broken record, we are once again swimming in red ink.

The latest numbers released in a report by the nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office pegs the state's current deficit at about $500 million. And that's just to make it through the current fiscal year.

The imbalance is expected to balloon to $1.7 billion in the next fiscal year unless the Legislature takes action.

It's not exactly a secret that I am the state's foremost proponent of privatizing liquor sales in Pennsylvania.

The state has taken some halting steps. Republicans have professed their zeal to blow up the Liquor Control Board and turn the whole process over to private enterprise. Democrats, led by Gov. Tom Wolf, have resisted such efforts, instead looking to modernize and expand state store service while adding the convenience of beer and wine sales in supermarkets, and adding variety in the form of 12- and six-pack sales at beer distributors.

But let's not kid ourselves.

It's not exactly the most critical issue facing the state.

Not when the red ink continues to rise.

Not when public schools continue to struggle under an underfunded system that still tilts away from the neediest districts. And not when that "ticking time bomb" in the budget process - the massively underfunded public employee pension plans - get closer to detonating every day.

We just had elections. We for the most part returned incumbents to Harrisburg.

Republicans retained majorities in both the House and Senate.

It's time to address the serious money issues facing the state.

Only then should we raise a glass and celebrate the tiny steps being made to bring the state into the 21st century when it comes to booze.


Albert Brooks said…
Education is not underfunded, PA is in the top 15 of spending per student and almost $3,000 per student higher than the national average. Now the distribution of that funding may or may not need adjusting but the amount is certainly adequate.