Dear Editor:

I feel compelled to respond to Micah Gursky's personal attack that appeared in the July 28th Times News. Mr. Gursky is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

The $6,000 increase per legislator in this year's budget is an undeniable fact which was reported on by news sources throughout the state. Just because the overall legislative budget was cut by $600,000, doesn't change the fact that the line items for lawmakers COLA's and benefits went up by $6,000 per lawmaker. And even if they give the COLA money back, as Gursky suggests, having it as part of the legislative salary increases the amount of their pensions every year, only further contributing to the pension crisis bankrupting our state.

And the government passing an on-time, no tax increase budget is merely the equivalent of the average worker showing up for his shift on time and not asking extra resources to get the job done. With a salary and benefits of almost $2,000 a week, I would hope the least the legislators could do is pass a budget on time.

As for the Schuylkill County Tax Collection Committee (TCC), surely Mr. Gursky knows a thing or two about companies over promising and under delivering, like the MEM street lighting contract in Tamaqua. None of the 14 counties that hired Centax could have ever anticipated the internal failures that have occurred in that organization. No leader can avoid every problem; but true leaders tackle problems head-on. As the current chairman of the TCC, I have worked tirelessly with the other members for a swift and effective resolution to the Centax failures. And as Mr. Gursky, a Borough Councilman, is well aware, safeguards are in place that every municipality will receive every dime of tax money owed to it.

Finally, in closing, I must address Mr. Gursky's assertion that I am not entitled to an opinion because I ran for public office. Last I checked, this is a democracy, not a dictatorship, as Mr. Gursky appears to believe. The free exchange of ideas is what makes our country strong.

Larry Padora

New Ringgold, PA