The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 10, 2012

Look forward, Critz urges, in spite of "fiscal cliff"

Randy Griffith

EBENSBURG — With Friday’s annual Economic Summit scheduled so soon after the general election, Rep. Mark Critz knew that preparing his speech would be challenging.

“Three days removed from an election that ripped my heart out, I had a Plan A, and a Plan B,” Critz said. “I’ll do my best to stick with Plan A.”

A Johnstown resident and Democrat, Critz was defeated Tuesday by Republican Keith Rothfus of Sewickley, Allegheny County.

The job will be the same for the new congressman, Critz told the crowd of local government and business leaders at the Pasquerilla Conference Center in downtown Johnstown.  

“It is about making sure we are doing right for the people here, and we are moving this country forward, economically.”

There are looming deadlines for action on automatic budget cuts and the end of some important tax cuts.

Collectively known as the “fiscal cliff,” these economic issues will be addressed before he leaves office in January, Critz pledged.

Now that the elections are over, Congress can find more common ground, he predicted.

“There is a lot more room toward the middle,” Critz said. “You are going to see more compromise in this lame duck session.”

Congressional leaders are leaning toward a plan that would continue the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $250,000, Critz said.

He said that there may be a provision for small-business owners who reinvest part of their $250,000 incomes back into their businesses.

“I think we could have solved this in the summer, but we love drama,” Critz said. “But drama is not good for business.”

Long-term solutions are still needed, he said.

“Do we have to trim the budget? Obviously we do,” Critz said. “Do we have to increase revenue? Of course we do.

“It is just going to take some hard work.” 

Critz told the audience he will continue to be involved in the community, and he did not rule out another run for office.

Noting that the Economic Summit’s program focused on jobs, Critz put in a plug for some other recently unemployed government workers.

“I have a lot of great staff who are going to be looking for jobs,” Critz said.