Senator Corman Continues to Amaze

160px-Corman_flagAs state employees begin to receive the worst of news that they have lost their jobs, Senator Corman continues on his carefree attitude in regards to the matter. You may recall that when asked about the potential layoffs that Governor Rendell was saying were down the road of no new revenue, Senator Corman made the statement that the Commonwealth is not a staffing agency. When being interviewed today about the budget stalemate and the fact that state employees are being laid off as a result of the budget impasse, he again reiterated that the state should be doing the maximum amount of work possible with the fewest number of employees possible. He says that legislators are there to represent the citizens of their respective districts who pay the salaries of state workers. I agree the legislature are there to represent their constituents. I believe sometimes the elected officials tend to forget that they are elected. Those same people that are feeling the pain of a budget impasse, are the ones that elect the leaders and place them in office. Senator Corman is fighting in the “name of his contituents”. However, look at the cost of this fight. State employees have been held hostage for a couple of weeks as a result of the budget impasse. Other state services will begin to feel the impact of a budget impasse very shortly. Education is one key area that is currently operating without state funding that they have come to count on. Obviously the state employees that have suffered for the last couple of weeks because of being forced to work without pay, and are now being told just after receiving their paycheck that they are now being laid off. A quick cost/benefit analysis would reveal that the costs to so many as a result of the Senate Republicans refusal to compromise is just not worth it.

One would think that, of all people, Senator Corman would be hesitant to lay off state workers because so many live in his district. Senator Corman represents a portion of both Centre and Perry Counties. Because of their close proximity to Harrisburg, many state employees live in that area. However, he has stood his ground in regards to no broad based tax increases. He repeated that message in his interview today with PCN. He said that the Senate Republicans would not settle on a budget that doesn’t spend less than last year, and that institutes a broad based tax increase. The interview brought to light a very important concept. It is certainly going to take compromise to work this difficult budget out. When asked about the compromise the Senate Republicans would be making, Senator Corman did not clearly answer the question. His idea of compromise is that they are willing to allow Governor Rendell to have some, not all, of the areas of spending that he proposed in his budget. That is simply not compromise. He is still placing demands that he believes need to be met. He should be coming to the negotiating table with a clean slate and work from there. He can use ideas as markers, but to build a wall around those core ideas is the wrong approach. That is not compromise, you could term it a “compromise with preconditions”. I agree that this Governor has spent much more than he ever should have and he is largely to blame for the position the state finds themselves in. However, at some point it is my view that the 2 bodies are going to have to give and meet in the middle. I have said in previous posts that I believe the House Democrats along with Governor Rendell have done that in reference to the drastic cuts they have levied upon this budget. That is compromise folks. At this point, it would be very wise for the Senate Republicans to begin to realize that the only way out of this hole is to concede to the tax increase as a method of generating the revenue to balance this budget. Just the fact that so many state workers live in Senator Corman’s district, one would think that those losing their job as a result of this impasse, would vote for change in the upcoming election. Politically speaking, that doesn’t speak well for Senator Corman. Overall, it does cast a dark cloud on this whole process and specifically upon the players in this budget impasse.

Governor Rendell will soon be out of office. By looking back upon his tenure as Governor of Pennsylvania, it should be obvious that he has not been a fiscally responsible Governor. Just looking at the level of spending and the inability to get a state budget passed on time in any of the previous years of this administration speak volumes to the ineptness in regards to fiscal policy. Having said that, I am of the opinion that the Republican controlled Senate should take the measures necessary to get this budget passed with the least amount of casualties. Governor Rendell previously proposed increasing the personal income tax .50% for a temporary period of 3 years to balance the budget. This would not have resulted in the layoffs that we currently are seeing in the state workforce. Would this hurt workers in Pennsylvania? Certainly, however it would not have as large an impact as losing jobs and facing stringent cuts to public services in the Commonwealth. The platform of true reform can begin when the next Governor is elected to office. If history repeats itself, we will see a Republican Governor in office to succede Rendell anyway.

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