Budget woes? Let's talk
We met this week with Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, to get up to speed on some issues of importance to our readers.
Property taxes, medical cannabis, drones, Gov. Tom Wolf and — of course — the overdue budget were on the agenda.
Now, we don't always agree with the senator, but sometimes we do.
Such is the case when it comes to medical cannabis. We, like he, believe it is past time to make it available to those who suffer from debilitating illnesses, those whose symptoms would be eased by the remedy.
However, we have our differences of opinion, for example, on Senate Bill 76, which would eliminate property taxes by replacing them with sales and income taxes.
He thinks it's a strong piece of legislation, and we don't think the research is there to support the plan.
Still, it was an enjoyable and, at times, illuminating conversation. And it was just plain productive to spend an hour getting to know the senator a little bit better.
We appreciate the candor of a man who's willing to admit his district is the result of "gerrymandering," even though he shares party affiliation with the people who made it that way.
We heard about his upcoming vacation and his grandchildren (he's a proud grandfather, to be sure) and shared some good information and a few laughs.
We even got to see his dog-eared copy of the Constitution. We weren't surprised: We know that's a big part of his value system.
We sometimes hear about the glory days of politics, when no matter which side of the aisle they came from, representatives could work together — dare we say compromise — for the good of the state or country, as the case may be.
Representatives were colleagues and friends. They socialized and worked together across the aisle, putting aside differences to get things done.
It wasn't personal, or posturing, the way it is now. It was a common goal: to serve the people they were elected to represent.
"I'm not your boss," Folmer told us during the visit, "you're mine."
In fact, Folmer is Wolf's senator.
In this state, we're all neighbors, and so our differences of opinion should be overcome with mature compromise.
As we near two months without a budget, we hope our representatives will entertain this throwback of an idea.
State politicians: Get around a table. Talk about your families and your values. Share a laugh. Admit your differences and find your similarities.
First and foremost, you are proud to be Pennsylvanians.
That's a great starting point from which to find common ground and pass a budget.