Imagine sitting in a car dealership and feeling pretty good about negotiating a great deal on a new-to-you used car. Strong valuation of your trade-in, low interest rate, and even some nice “freebies” thrown in by the dealership. The salesman has all the terms ready for you to sign, but suddenly gets a call to head to the back office. After returning, he slides the agreement across his desk, ready for your signature.
"Here's everything we discussed," he states. “We’re just slashing the value of your trade-in by 80%. Other than that, we’re all good. Here’s a pen you can use to sign.”
You reach for the pen but then get smacked by reality. “Whoa, that’s not what we agreed to!”
“Sorry,” the salesman responds. “Guess you should have been better at negotiating,”
What are the chances that you go through with that purchase? What are the odds that you will ever set foot in that dealership ever again?
Though it’s not the same scenario, it’s those types of actions that ignited the now-lengthening state budget impasse.
Our first-year governor made a surprise declaration that he would veto funding a scholarship program designed to help students in Pennsylvania’s most poorly performing school districts.
The move came as a surprise because Gov. Josh Shapiro has consistently and publicly supported this school choice program both as a candidate and as a governor. As recently as late June, the governor re-iterated his support for the program in a Fox News interview saying, “I’ve been very clear that I’m open to [school choice] … We’ve got to invest more in our children, not less. I want to make sure we give every child of God an opportunity to be successful. I think education is key to that.”
Gov. Shapiro also held firm to his support of the measure during months of budget negotiations with legislative leaders. State Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward stated, “Senate Republicans worked in good faith with Gov. Shapiro for nearly two months making concessions and giving him all the goodies he wanted with his promise to work with his party and bring [the school choice program] across the finish line.”
The governor’s abrupt decision hurt more than just the tens of thousands of students who could literally have their lives changed by significantly improved education opportunities. Shapiro’s about-face may have obliterated much of the trust that’s necessary to bridge political divides and govern.
One principle that rules all healthy relationships is trust. We teach our children to keep their word. If a child has agreed to do a chore around the house and then decides not to do it, parents impose corrective action. We do so because we want the child to mature and learn reliability and trust.
Politicians may not always agree with one another, but we must act in reliable ways so our words can be trusted. Clearly that was the intent during budget negotiations, but Gov. Shapiro’s broken promises and deflection of responsibility for his betrayal have left the Legislature wondering how to restore the proverbial rug that’s been yanked out from underneath them.
Gov. Shapiro, trust isn’t a partisan issue. Please consider these words from President John F. Kennedy: “I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.” Trust is the most valuable commodity we have in working for the common good of Pennsylvanians.
Editorial submitted by the Republican House members from Lancaster County
Rep. Mindy Fee (37th Legislative District)
Rep. Brett Miller (41st Legislative District)
Rep. Keith Greiner (43rd Legislative District)
Rep. Steven Mentzer (98th Legislative District)
Rep. Tom Jones (98th Legislative District)
Rep. Dave Zimmerman (99thLegislative District)
Rep. Bryan Cutler (100th Legislative District)