Compromise may be path to progress in Wolf’s second term

Gov. Tom Wolf said all the right things at his inaugural address kicking off his second term Tuesday.

But the most important words may have come from his political counterpart, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Republican.

Scarnati commented that Wolf has evolved into a governor reaching over more often, having conversations with him and understanding all sides of an issue.

That is good news for all Pennsylvanians, who surely are tired of protracted budget squabbles that lead to nowhere and extreme proposals that have no chance of compromise that leads to progress.

A lot of the things Wolf wants to accomplish in his second term — public education improvements, criminal justice reform and an improved, more secure voting system — are worthwhile priorities.

But given the divided government that hovers over Harrisburg, those priorities have no chance of reaching a finish line without certain realities being in place.

One of those realities is a solid working relationship between the governor and the leader of the opposition party that controls the Legislature.

The absence of that sort of relationship is locking Washington into a ball of angst.

We have seen the opposite — President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Majority Leader Tip O’Neill got along famously — and how much can be accomplished with a solid working relationship that includes a spirit of compromise.

The governor does not have to give up everything he believes in.

He simply needs to be more moderate in his expectations and respect that every proposal he has can be improved on with input from the other side of the aisle.

That more prosperous, stronger and fairer future for Pennsylvania that he spoke of during his inaugural address can only happen if that is the governor’s approach.

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