Criticism of General Assembly by CDT Unfair

An Editorial by Sen. Jake Corman
Note: this editorial was submitted to the Centre Daily Times, and printed as a 250 word letter to the editor on July 3, 2008.

Dear Centre Daily Times Editor:

“The man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done.”

Those are the famous words of former President Theodore Roosevelt, said over 100 years ago and words that are true to this day.

The CDT editorial of July 1, 2008 is full of untruths, speculation, and criticism from afar. It does a disservice to the readers who may rely on this fiction for their daily information. As a legislator who actually does the work of developing a state budget, let me point out your inaccuracies.

As of July 1st, the state budget has yet to be voted on by the members of the General Assembly, so the CDT’s assertion that rank and file members will vote on the budget without knowing its contents is patently false and irresponsible journalism – a critic’s point of view easily dismissed by President Roosevelt then and by us now.

Further, the CDT just doesn’t get it when it comes to negotiations of a complex $28 billion spending plan.

While I can’t speak for the other three caucuses, the Senate Republican Caucus empowers our leaders to negotiate a budget on behalf of our 29 member majority. Our caucus gives our leaders our framework for the budget, we meet throughout each day to discuss the progress, and we executed a proposed budget agreement that fulfills our caucus priorities: a budget that came in with a spending increase less than the rate of inflation, keeps our Rainy Day Fund intact, contains no tax increases, continues the phase out of the capital stock and franchise tax and strips bonus payments of $34 million to the Philadelphia School District.

Our leaders negotiated this framework with the frequent consultation of the entire caucus and we are proud of their work.

We will vote on this budget either Wednesday night or Thursday morning (again CDT editors – it has not been voted on yet!). But before voting on it, every single line item will be discussed and reviewed by our caucus members, making the Senate Republican Caucus very informed on what our budget contains – a direct contradiction to the imaginary musings of the CDT’s editorial board.

I’ll end with another appropriate quotation from President Roosevelt on the critic, one that aptly fits the CDT editors:

Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it. The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger.”

Don Houser
Phone: 717 787-1377