Experts say it's best to be realistic when making New Year's resolutions.

If only our elected officials would follow that advice, we might actually see some progress in 2013.

Some members of Congress should start by recognizing they're simply not going to have everything just the way they want it. Period.

There are fringe elements of both parties, but let's be honest -- it's a contingent of ultra-conservative House Republicans to blame for the last-minute fiscal cliff fiasco, as well as earlier manufactured crises.

Agree or don't. But polls show most American's blame the GOP for the extreme inaction in Congress.

These few radicals have stymied those actually attempting to govern this country, and further sullied the entire institution's reputation (which wasn't that great to begin with).

By the time the new session starts Thursday, the 112th Congress will have recorded two all-time low approval ratings in Gallup polls (both 10 percent), and, as NBC News points out, will have passed just 219 bills -- "the lowest number since Congress began tracking this number in the 1940s."

Moderates of both parties should resolve to form a coalition of compromise in the coming session.

This isn't unheard of in U.S. politics, and it's needed now more than ever. This country can't afford another Congress like the 112th.

We also hope new U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-4th District, resolves to become part of this coalition.

The extremists could very likely be sidelined by their own party.

Farfetched? Just wait.


Attention already has turned to the 2014 mid-term election. If this year starts looking anything like the past two, Republican leaders, mindful of their losses in the last General Election, will do what they have to to protect the party's image from further damage.

As for our state legislators, we hope they realize Pennsylvania's major problems won't go away just because they ignore them.

We hope they resolve to finally tackle the big ticket items like property tax reform, funding improvements to the state's crumbling transportation infrastructure and dealing with a charter school law badly in need of revision.

It also would be helpful if the Legislature heeds the calls of mayors across the state and takes action to help Pennsylvania's struggling third-class cities. These are old, landlocked, tax-starved metropolitan areas, home to a disproportionate number of low-income residents as well as tax-exempt properties.

The mayors have been calling for a Core Communities package of legislation, including earned income tax reform, a 1 percent local optional sales tax, and pension and arbitration reform.

Lastly, York City school board members should resolve to work hand in hand with the state-appointed chief recovery officer as he tries to guide the district back to financial health.

It won't be an easy job by any stretch, but it will go much smoother if all parties approach it as a team rather than as adversaries.

As chief recovery officer David Meckley said in his first presentation to the board: "We can all second guess, should there be financial recovery, should this be happening. But it's here. It's happening. I want to work with all of you to make this happen."

That's the right attitude to start the new year.