Do you like the way that sounds? But what does it mean? Callahan has so far ducked taking a position on health care, our most pressing national issue. I have no idea where he stands on Speaker Pelosi's cap-and-trade energy bill, which will cost about 60,000 jobs here in Pennsylvania. What's his position on important foreign policy questions, like the recent proposal to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan?
Callahan plays it safe, hiding in his throne room with his finger in the air, trying to tell which way the wind is blowing. In contrast, LV Congressman Charlie Dent has reached out to his community. This year alone, he's conducted 17 town halls all over the Lehigh Valley. This is in addition to numerous Q&A sessions with senior center residents.
Dent leads from the front while Callahan is still in the rear, stocking up on supplies that include $1,000 contributions from developers like Nolan Perin, who is still looking for public money to fund his Wind Gap road to nowhere.
So tell what type of Congressman John Callahan would be, we need to look at his record as Bethlehem Mayor. That record shows he likes to spend taxpayers' money. Local news media has reported an audit showing a $2.7 million deficit in Bethlehem’s 2008 Budget. Even the Democrat Chairman of Bethlehem City Council’s Finance Committee said that Callahan’s overspending the budget was “unacceptable.” Maybe Callahan should think twice about running for two offices at the same time.
Did Mayor Callahan consider for a moment that this nearly $3 million deficit was the result of overspending? No. His Administration instead blamed the deficit on their inability to continue his longstanding practice of raiding other city funds (like the Water Authority) to cover holes in the City’s General Fund Budget. In other words, Callahan uses non-recurring revenue to pay for recurring expenditures.
Mayor Callahan wants voters to believe that things are looking better for Bethlehem’s finances in the coming year. In fact, Bethlehem will receive millions, just for hosting a casino. So can city residents expect the tax relief they were promised in exchange for opening their community to gambling? No.
“Mayor Callahan has built up such a mountain of debt that it is highly unlikely he’ll be able to offer property tax relief at a time when people could certainly use it,” said Shawn Millan, Dent’s campaign manager.
Instead of property tax relief, Callahan has a better idea - a $1.5 million skateboarding park. As a councilman, he opposed that idea, bit I think what sold him is the idea of putting a few slots there and in the dog park.
“These are the same misguided priorities and out-of-control spending that Mayor Callahan supported by saying he backed the failed Stimulus Bill. We’re in the middle of tough economic times, but you would never know it from the way the Mayor spends taxpayers’ money,” Congressman Charlie Dent said.
As Mayor of Bethlehem John Callahan has raised property taxes, imposed a $52 municipal services tax for people working in Bethlehem, fought to increase the sales tax, ran up a $2.7 million budget deficit, sank the City’s Water Authority with debt and thinks that $1.5 million of taxpayer money for a skate park is prudent spending as opposed to giving the people of Bethlehem tax relief.
Congressman Dent has a different view. “This is the record that Washington Democrats think qualifies John Callahan to serve in Congress. If you want to know what kind of Congressman Callahan would be, here’s your answer: he’ll be the sort of Congressman that Speaker Nancy Pelosi just gave $4,000 to elect.”
Blogger's Note: Ken Petrini has the text of the Dent campaign's news release here.