The Williamsport Sun-Gazette
Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley was in Williamsport recently to rally the Republican Party troops at the annual Lincoln Day dinner.
The manner in which the state elects governors and lieutenant governors separately rather than as a ticket can lead to a disjointed message once the elected are in office.
That’s not the case with Cawley and Gov. Tom Corbett. Cawley spoke of the joint efforts that he and Corbett have undertaken, particularly regarding the state budget.
They have produced two balanced budgets and are headed for a third, without raising taxes.
But there has been some sacrifice and change involved and much more is on the way, particularly regarding pensions for state employees. The unfunded pension liability is $1.3 billion for this year and will be $4.5 billion next year if pension reform is not pursued.
Cawley pointed out this is money that can’t be used to improve roads and schools.
Cawley pushed for the fix of changing from a defined benefits plan to a 401-k plan for state employees to turn around the state pension plan eventually.
He also pushed hard for liquor store privatization, which the administration believes could raise $1 billion immediately from sale of licenses to private firms, money that would be poured into a public education block grant program.
Both the pension and liquor store privatization plans have their critics, which is understandable since they represent fundamental change from a public-sector-first approach to private alternatives. That never goes smoothly in Pennsylvania.
There may be better alternatives where pensions are concerned.
We need to hear them instead of a lot of empty criticism.
As for liquor store privatization, it’s embarrassingly overdue.
End of story.
Get it done.