Friday, October 29, 2010

Connolly v. Boscola, Tax Cheat v. Marijuana Dreamer

Northampton County Council's Star Chamber is always a great place for a fight. In fact, Executive John Stoffa is considering renting it out to the Wild Samoans on weekends. But last night, instead of sparring Council members, the Northampton County League of Women Voters sponsored an exhibition match between Pa. State Senatorial candidates Matt "Tax Cheat" Connolly and Lisa "Marijuana Dreamer" Boscola. Although they both took their shots, it was a surprisingly good and congenial debate. In the picture on the left, the candidates are joking as they wag their fingers at each other. ... I think. Lafayette Professor John Kincaid, who acted as moderator, posed excellent questions. The only disappointment was the small crowd, which consisted almost exclusively of the inner circle of each candidate.

Acting as cutman, Glenn "Commissioner No" Eckhart squirted water into Connolly's mouth between questions. In Lisa's corner sat the Imperious Ann McHale, who kept murmuring, "I should be County Executive."

Below are the fight highlights, with a few explanatory comments.

Is Matt Connolly a Tax Cheat?

Boscola: "I want to continue my fight for property tax relief, even though he [Connolly] has a tendency not to pay his. I took a shot because you took a shot at me."

Connolly: "I was late on a tax bill twice on real estate. That's not a crime.

Boscola: "Three years in a row."

Blogger's Note: Connolly owns two real estate parcels with his wife and has never been delinquent with his taxes. His business, Matt Connolly Motor Sports, LLC, owns another three parcels, and the real estate taxes owed on those parcels are delinquent. No judgment or lien has ever been filed against Connolly or his business, so he's no tax cheat, as Boscola alleged in a radio interview.

Boscola Dreams About Medical Marijuana?

Boscola: "I was thinking about it the other day. I was dreaming about it. I do that a lot."

Has Boscola Ever Voted For a Tax Hike?

In her opening, Boscola stated she has never voted for a tax hike. Connolly produced a bill in which she voted for an extension and increase of a corporate tax. "That's just a spin," answered Boscola.

Connolly Challenges Boscola on Pledge to Eliminate Property Taxes

Connolly: "In business, if you had been on the job for 12 years, and had not accomplished what you said you were going to do, you'd be fired. in politics, you tend to lose your position."

Boscola: "Anybody with common sense knows that one individual, one senator alone, can't eliminate property taxes."

Pledge to Eliminate Property Taxes an Election Ploy

Connolly: "I appreciate the fight for eliminating property taxes, but I prefer you win the fight for elimination of property taxes instead of using it as ---. It's been your election ploy for the past 12 years."

Blogger's Note: The Morning Call article Connolly refers to is located here.

Should legislators Be Banned From Consulting Gigs?

Boscola: "Absolutely. This is a full-time job. I work at it 24/7, and I have no respect for those that are doing outside consulting work."

Connolly: "There's too much potential for a conflict of interest."

Blogger's Note: State Rep. Jennifer Mann is a consultant for Vitetta.

Should we reduce the size of our state legislature?

Connolly: "Pennsylvania, per capita, is one of the most over-represented states in the Union. We have 50 senators, 203 representatives; they each have a staff that averages about 11 people, they get state cars, all of this I think is quite excessive." He'd reduce the state legislature to 25 senators and 2 representatives from each senatorial district or shrink the pay and staff to equal that budget.

Boscola: "One of the very fist bills I introduced was to reduce the size of the state legislature. ... It wasn't sexy twenty, fifteen years ago to talk about it. But I was on bard way back then and I continue to be on board."

Marcellus Shale: Should there be a moratorium on the extraction of natural gas?

Boscola: "I am very much in favr of a moratorium right now because this extraction of natural gas - we have one chance to do this right. One chance. We have to learn the lessons of coal, when we were mining coal, and the acid mine drains that we are still dealing with environmentally. ... But the debate in Harrisburg is not directed that way. It's directed towards a tax on the drilling of Marcellus Shale. ... If they're going to tax it, I believe all that money should be going towards environmental protection and the local communities who are going to have to suffer through it. ... If that Little Lehigh River is polluted because of Marcellus Shale, yu know I'll be out there, fighting constantly, to make sure the drillers pay."

Connolly: "I do not support a moratorium on Marcellus gas production. I'm very interested in this. i was in the heating business for many years and knew quite a bit about it. I interviewed a driller and an executive who does fracking. It can be done very safely. Marcellus Shale ... is 9,000 feet under ground. It can be done very safely. It can be done with an absolutely minimal impact. We cannot blame the gas and our need for the gas for some of the problems that have been caused by irresponsible drillers. I am all for, as part of the permit fees, having the gas companies and the gas producers, pay for independent, third party monitoring, have very stiff fines for any breaches in any environmental regulations or any pollution. We need to become a net energy exporter in this state. We cannot keep taking our oil from people who don't like us."

Severence Tax, Anyone?

Boscola claims we can impose this tax because "they [gas producers] are going nowhere." Connolly worries that is exactly what will happen.

The Looming Pension Crisis

Connolly: "We are staring down the barrel of a debt gun that's gonna' kill us."

Boscola: "We are making changes that matter to people." [She describes some changes for new hires].

Health Care Costs

Boscola: "We have to go after the insurance companies. That's how you drive down costs, and that's how you cover more people."

Job Creation

Connolly: "The only place in the world more hostile to job creation is Japan."

Gun Control: Both candidates oppose gun control.

Abortion: Boscola opposes after first trimester. Connolly opposes except in case of rape or incest.

Gay Marriage: Both oppose but support civil unions.

Illegal Immigration: Connolly support deportation. Boscola supports cracking down on employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

Unfunded Mandates: Both support ending practice. Neither supports a Constitutional amendment to that effect.


Anonymous said...

You're sadly correct. Taxcheat or

Anonymous said...

Friends who attended Lehigh County Commissioners meeting say Cunningham was horribly rude and threatening to the Commissioners and taxpayers. What has happened to him! He was such a nice guy when he first worked at Bethlehem City Hall.

Willy Nelson said...

Decriminalizing marijuana is the answer and the court system can then be managed within their budgets.

Both candidates spoke intelligently of mother nature but neither would raise their hands and said they did, my bet is both did and that's OK!

Anonymous said...

Very sharp and very similar on most of the issues. Boscola's a pariah in H'burg, though, and her seniority means nothing. She's just been around too damn long. She's also run a nasty and misleading campaign by using the false tax cheat charge. Enough of her already. Connolly gets my vote.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd agree that both of them gave an excellent presentation, for the most part. Lisa's comment about marijuana cracked me up. I'm not trying to disparage her. I genuinely thought it was kinda' cute.

Matt is a wonderful candidate with an excellent command of the issues. I don't think he has a prayer because I've seen his campaign finance statement and hers. But I really hope that Matt does run for office again.