When the Pennsylvania legislature fled the capital last month for its summer vacation (which is increasingly indistinguishable from its work), it was slouching toward a deficient, inadequate, and belated response to Philadelphia's school funding crisis. In other words, it was overachieving.
As the fractious members reminded us last week, their capacity to accomplish even less than expected should never be underestimated.
Although the Republican majority appeared to have settled on a plan to allow the state-run district to subsist on a new $2-a-pack tax on city smokers, the levy became mired in eleventh-hour bickering between the leaders of the House and Senate. When the bill was finally left in limbo by the Senate, House Republicans promised to briefly leave their sand castles in early August, just weeks before the start of school, to clean up the mess and pass the tax.