With no resolution to Pennsylvania's record nine-month budget impasse in sight and with public schools contemplating closure, Gov. Wolf has succumbed to Republican obstruction and agreed to a plan that keeps the state in the fast lane toward fiscal instability and educational decline. In the end, he was abandoned by fellow Democrats in the legislature who pleaded with him to accept a fiscally indefensible budget rather than keep trudging toward the end of the fiscal year with no budget at all.

Of the many disappointments of this budget, the greatest is its failure to address the state's structural deficit, the stark difference between the state's spending and receipts. This deepening hole, expected to approach $2 billion next year, is sapping the state's ability to function.

That seems to be of no concern to the legislature's least reasonable Republicans, who can return to a never-ending campaign trail to gleefully proclaim that this budget raises no taxes. But the problem is that it does raise taxes. Local property taxes throughout the state are bound to rise because the state is failing to properly fund schools, leaving districts to make up the difference. Those districts were already battered by the years when former Gov. Tom Corbett and the legislature refused to adequately fund them, forcing them to raise taxes, lay off teachers, and cut programs.

Republican legislators also may claim that this budget increases education spending. But they won't point out that it raids college scholarship funds amounting to $40 million to do so.

While Wolf acknowledged defeat Wednesday, Republicans can hardly declare victory. This budget doesn't address the looming pension crisis or reform the state's absurd grip on wine and spirits sales, supposed Republican priorities that, despite belated and begrudging concessions by the Democratic governor, remain as untouched as Wolf's agenda.

There was a better deal back in December that did begin to address the pension problem and the structural deficit as well as help the state meet its constitutional obligation to provide a "thorough and efficient" education. But Republican Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) gave in to extemism and refused to allow a vote on the deal. As the weeks went by, it became increasingly obvious that any responsible budget deal was unlikely, and that the governor's prolonging of the stalemate was only causing anxiety and worse for public schools and others relying on state funding.

Wolf was always right about the need to fix Pennsylvania's structural deficit and improve public education by raising revenues. But he clearly lacked the political skill and enthusiasm for deal-making that could wrest responsible governance from a Capitol that is increasingly averse to it. Pennsylvanians can only hope that the experience has taught the politically novice governor what it will take to achieve his worthy goals.