Gov. Tom Corbett made a wise decision this week that should inspire him to become even smarter about helping the state's neediest residents.

Mr. Corbett will direct additional money, about $8 million in federal funds, to heating assistance for low-income residents. That will take advantage of a federal regulation authorizing additional food stamp benefits to residents who also receive heating assistance of at least $20 a year in heating assistance. The result - an additional $300 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that will provide about $65 a month for each family enrolled in the program.

The "heat and eat" provision is aptly named. It enables needy families to cover heat and groceries rather than having to juggle them due to cuts in the regular food stamp program.

Mr. Corbett's decision is particularly helpful for low-income residents who do not have utility bills but pay for their heat with their rent.

Democratic governors in New York and Connecticut have decided to employ "heat and eat" to boost heating and nutrition assistance, but Mr. Corbett is the first Republican governor to do so.

"We thank Governor Corbett for doing the right thing for Pennsylvania," said Julie Zaebst of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.

It's good not just for the beneficiaries but the economy, since SNAP participants spend the money in Pennsylvania.