The recovering economy has allowed the Republican-controlled General Assembly and the Republican Governor of Pennsylvania to engage in a bit of good cop-bad cop.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted overwhelmingly (with strong Democratic support) in favor of a budget that restores many of the cuts the governor had made in his budget proposal some weeks ago. The good cop role was thanks to a windfall in state revenue generated by gamblers and taxpayers buoyed by a gradually improving economy and shrinking unemployment rate.
When people have steady work, not only to they pay more income tax, they tend to spend money on things where the state gets a cut, either through sales tax or the special levies on casino receipts.
The lawmakers telegraphed their enthusiasm for spending some of the extra cash on programs that took a hit in Gov. Tom Corbett's spending plan, especially education. There will also be more money for some social service programs that had been facing cuts as deep as 20 percent.
On Monday, the Senate made good on its preview, and the House will likely follow suit.
The news should bring a sigh of relief to county commissioners and school boards, who had been faced with some extremely difficult decisions. It's not clear if the restoration of some of the funding will translate into the reinstatement of some furloughed teachers or the cancellation of any furloughs for the coming school year, but it bodes well for school districts like the one here in Warren County.
Gov. Corbett has given the Senate's work a chilly reception without actually opposing the bill.
The legislature has taken the opportunity to don a white hat at a time when the governor has been painted in many circles as cold-hearted and ruthless.
We'll give them credit for seizing the opportunity.