Gov. Tom Corbett's budget secretary warned recently about a looming state budget shortfall for 2012.
A warning is one thing. Reality is another.
The administration announced last week that revenue figures for the first half of the year show a shortfall of a half-billion dollars. Overall collections trailed estimates by 4 percent, or $487 million, through December.
As a first measure, Corbett's office has extended a pay freeze for thousands of nonunion management employees in the executive branch as well as the governor himself and members of the Cabinet.
It was unclear if that will create significant savings, but that's not the point.
If the state budget is in trouble, people at the top need to make the first sacrifice. Too often, the first to take the hits are those at the bottom of the food chain.
The bottom line is that the state's fiscal situation was so out of whack from eight years of extensive spending that even the budget cuts in Corbett's first year leave the state with a budget that can't be supported by the revenues it is receiving.
A Corbett spokesman said other initiatives "will be forthcoming."
Let's hope those initiatives work. Many human services agencies that are under state budget influence took pretty huge hits in the current budget. Every effort should be expended to keep that from happening again, no matter the revenue picture.