Ever paid a bill late? Did you worry about what might happen as a result? Pennsylvania lawmakers had better start worrying, because they're just two weeks away from missing the year's second state school aid payment, and at least one school district's officials say they can't survive without it.
The stalemate developed after the election of Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who wanted to diminish the state's reliance on local property taxes to fund education.
But if you eliminate one source you've got to find another. Rendell proposed boosting the state's income tax to cover what would be lost in property-tax revenues. Immediately state lawmakers had a vision of future opponents painting them as tax-and-spend lawmakers. Hence the stalemate.
If this were only an argument between two branches of government, we'd be content to see it go on as long as both groups' members want. But we're talking about potential damage to local school systems - and to local taxpayers as well.