Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dent: Don't Believe Callahan's No-Tax Hike Pledge

According to independent auditors, Bethlehem finished 2009 with an $8.5 million deficit. Mayor John Callahan has left millions in unpaid bills and moved money from various city accounts illegally, without Council approval, to cover payments. Even a new firetruck had to sit, unused, because the City was unable to pay for it.

Now, he's incredibly claiming, in an obvious pander to the voter, that there will be no tax hike next year, before he's prepared or submitted his budget.

Congressman Charlie Dent responds:

“John Callahan’s fiscal irresponsibility is staggering. He doesn't know what his revenues will be, and he doesn't know what his expenditures will be. And he has a record of making poor estimates, resulting in multimillion dollar deficits since at least 2008.

“Even Democratic members of his own City Council question this hollow campaign promise, and believe his ‘no tax hike’ promise is unrealistic.

“Callahan claims he’s working to ‘tighten the belt’ but he increased spending by 10 percent JUST THIS YEAR. Instead of looking inward to fix his problems, Callahan is seeking a bailout from regional taxpayers through a sales tax hike he wants the counties to institute.

“A bigger problem is that Callahan’s pledges don’t mean very much. He promised an immediate property tax cut in exchange for a casino. He broke that promise for the second year in a row. With four years to plan a tax cut for the property owners of Bethlehem, he instead spent the city deep into the red.

“Perhaps Callahan could save the taxpayers’ money by eliminating unnecessary management jobs – starting with his own. He’s been absent for more than a year, so maybe Bethlehem would be better off without a Mayor rather than have Callahan at the helm.

“John Callahan is an incompetent mayor, and he’s incapable to handle the serious issues that face America.”


Anonymous said...

Has Charlie ever ran anything larger than a legislator's staff?

Just curious. It is really easy for a legislator to attack an executive for the budget during an economic depression when tax revenues dry up due to taxpayers having less money.

Don Cunningham just had to raise taxes in Lehigh County or cut services. Dean Browning is being applauded on the blog for siding with Don.

I wonder if Charlie thinks of himself as a disaster for his 2005-2007 tenure in congress when his party was in control of everything and if he thinks Dean Browning is a disaster for doing what Bernie thinks is the right thing right now.

Anonymous said...

While I am a Dent supporter and do not care for Callahan, have to agree with 4:08. Dent is a great legislator, but has never run a government. If Dent were to have been an Executive or Mayor with a proven record, some creedence would be offered his way on his budget claims.

Anonymous said...

Is Dent running for Mayor of Bethlehem? Apparently he care more about Bethlehem's finances than the U.S. Governments. Hey Charlie--the government you are now part of has run deficits during the entire time you have been in office...I do not believe you can change that...since you supported all of Bush's spending bills which tripled the national deficit.
Dent---when you run a government, may be you can magically do it better.

Anonymous said...

No tax increase? Good grief. Just look at the previous post about Cunningham pushing off his fiscal mismanagement until after his election. Callahan is doing the same thing Don stuck LC voters with.

Anonymous said...

lol, OH YEA! Drink the kool-aid!

But there is one thing that no one else seems to have picked up in this that really bothers me:

"Perhaps Callahan could save the taxpayers’ money by eliminating unnecessary management jobs – starting with his own. He’s been absent for more than a year, so maybe Bethlehem would be better off without a Mayor rather than have Callahan at the helm."

There is a point to be made here, people who already hold office and decide to seek a higher office should have to resign their job. It is not really possible to successfully campaign for another office and maintain all of the responsibilities of your old one.

Politicians should start doing what is right for their constituents and resign their office before running for another. Think about it in relation to the private sector, you go to your boss and say: it has been great working for you but I am going to try to get another, better job. and while I am trying to get this new job, I am going to keep getting my full pay and benefits, while just neglecting my responsibilities. That's cool right?

Look at Simmons he had to resign his position to run, because it was considered a "conflict of interest" so why is it not the same for incumbents?

Anonymous said...

everyone knows that the ass solicitor is running city hall and most functions have come to a grinding halt. when the budget is presented (after the election, of course) it will be entitles "BS, The Art of Smoke and Mirrors"

Anonymous said...

Dent never managed a budget in his entire life. Wait, maybe when he was shilling TV sets for a living. What a joke that this career politician, suckling the teat of the taxpayer, would have anything to say about managing ANYTHING.

Jon Geeting said...

"And he has a record of making poor estimates, resulting in multimillion dollar deficits since at least 2008"

Poor estimates about the Great Recession? FY08 was passed in 2007. FY09 passed in 2008. Did anyone make good estimates about the future economy in those years? Show me even one politician who predicted the greatest downturn since the Great Depression.

I don't know how you can publish this crap Bernie. You were at the same municipal finance brown bag that I was and you know full well that fragmented government is ruining the tax base of older core cities like Bethlehem. The 1% sales tax would give older cities a revenue source not dependent on property taxes from undervalued properties that never get reassessed.

It's a good idea, it should've passed, and I hope it passes in the future. That Dent opposes it shows how out of touch he is with what the mayors in his district actually need.

Finally, what gives Dent the credibility to even speak on this issue? What does Dent know about balancing a budget? He's never done it. Who is he to talk?

This is just a distraction from his own pitiful record on jobs.

Anonymous said...

"That Dent opposes it shows how out of touch he is with what the mayors in his district actually need."

Maybe out of touch with what the liberal Mayors want (a tax increase), but in touch with what the people need (lower taxes). Who is more out of touch, the Mayor who wants higher taxes, or Dent who wants lower taxes and less government? I think the people will speak on November 2nd and the result for liberal tax and spenders will be a complete defeat.

Anonymous said...

The actual debt of the city is over $300 million. Callahan justifies it by stating that it's what cities do. He claims he reduced the debt in his 6 years by $50 million. Keep in mind, it is still over $300 million. A few weeks ago the City Council voted to approve several million more dollars in debt. The Callahan administration justified that by explaining to the "gadflys" that it makes sense because of the low interest rates.

Anonymous said...

The Chair of the City Council Budget Committee, R. William Reynolds is nothing but a rubber stamp for Callahan. He'll conduct the hearings on the budget and the Council will pass it, regardles of the numbers.

Anonymous said...


u need to do a much better job in informing the uneducated masses of BSed bethlehemites as to what really is going on a 10 e. church. wake up. u have so much more info then u r giving and if u don't ur more uneducated than the fools that support the boy mayor aka absentee boy mayor

demand he pay back his salary because he ain't there

demand to know if peter is robbing paul or if paul is robbing peter and just who is dictating the theft and on who's orders

demand to know an exact accounting of the casino money

demand to know how many employees are doing nothing. this takes a
major look at C&Ed and M in water. just who are all of those unidentified people on the ist and 2nd floor. what about KV

how many relatives and friends can this guy have. city hall is becoming a family reunion. DR has a couple of friends also. check out T in finance

the truth will set u free if ur smart enough to find it

Anonymous said...

Ok, we have a blog of expert commenters it appears.

Can one of you experts weigh in with hard facts on this?

Callahan has an ad saying he didn't raise taxes for 4 years.

Dent has an ad saying Callahan raised taxes four years in a row.

Callahan's been in office 6 years.

Hard facts would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

"Callahan's been in office 6 years. Hard facts would be appreciated."

He voted the raise them when he was on the council. I know youre not from here, but at least read the paper.

Anonymous said...

OK Thanks. That helps clear things up.

Actually, I am from around here.

It's just that when my bird died, I didn't need the MCall anymore, so stopped subscribing.

Anonymous said...

You folks are trying to make sense of O'Hares logic. The problem is there is no logic. If you are an O'Hare mancrush the baby had to be thrown out with the bathwater for its own good. The owners of private bathwater will do a better job for the babies.

If you are an O'Hare goat ,"How dare you throw that poor baby out with the bathwater". You should have done the right thing and paid for clean water for the baby. You don't think the market place is going to stop just to clean your water.

See its not hard. Think like a disbarred alcoholic former attorney who has a criminal parent abusing egomaniac paying your bills and anything is possible.

"When you wish upon a turd...."

Anonymous said...

@9:59 - You have no substantive arguments so you revert back to a personal attack that isnt new. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:10, neither is your excuse of a response.

Anonymous said...

@2:29 - So you really have nothing else? That's it, just a personal attack. Face the fact that you can not intimidate Bernie out of blogging and your pathetic candidates will continue to get trounced. When you have substantive arguments, then maybe you and your candidates will have credibility. Dent by 10%...maybe more.

Anonymous said...

This blog is the best thing to ever happen in O'Hares life. It actually lets him think he makes a difference.

noel jones said...


I would like to go back to Anon 6:49's comment:

if Callahan says he hasn't raised taxes in four years, and

Dent says Callahan raised tax each of four years, then

someone is lying.

regardless of what party any one of us might usually vote for, we owe it to our own personal sense of integrity to figure out who is lying.

the only other option is that there is a math game happening here--and this has been confusing.

for instance, Callahan says that he has paid down on Bethlehem's debt to the tune of $60 million. Dent often refers to the fact that Bethlehem is still hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. both of these statements can be true simultaneously, and i hesitate to blame a mayor who inherits hundred of millions in debt for not obliterated all of it in just a few years. it is certainly good in these economic times to hear that debt is being paid down, rather than growing.

but what i don't get--and i hope someone can offer the logic at play here--is whether or not "debt" is part of a city's "balanced budget." i keep hearing that Callahan "has balanced the budget" year after year. does anyone know whether debt is something calculated outside of a city's budget? that is the only way i can figure that this can be an honest claim, if indeed Bethlehem is still hundreds of millions in debt.

does anyone know? and please no sniping--this is an earnest attempt to get to the bottom of this for myself and anyone else reading who might be confused by all these seemingly conflicting claims. it would seem outrageously bold (and setting one's self up for a hefty libel suit) to simply lie outright in a campaign, especially over and over in printed materials. i suspect that these assertions are being made in a very calculated way and it's important for voter's to figure out precisely what those calculations are.

thanks in advance!

i think voters are getting really sick of all the mudslinging and confusing claims by both sides, which is probably why Jake Towne won the debate at the State and the Express Times' endorsement.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Noel, I just got back from a football game and must leave for a meeting, but I can answer your question when I return.

noel jones said...

great--thanks, Bernie. one of your readers answered it in part in your other post on this election--that basically paying on a city's debt is like an annual mortgage payment in a way, so that as long as a city is covering its expenses and making its debt payments, the budget is considered "balanced."

so i would think that the important question would be, did Callahan borrow more money to balance the budget? if so, having "balanced budgets" would seem an illegitimate claim. however, if he did cover all expenses, make all debt payments and pay down on $60 million of Bethlehem's debt, then it seems a legitimate claim, and Dent would be in poor taste to try to misconstrue it on the simple basis of outstanding debt when payments are current, right?

BUT, if there existed no debt upon his being elected to office and in his time in office he took on a ridiculous amount of debt, that's worth looking at too. likewise if he took on a lot of debt but it was to invest in the development of the casino, and the investment is likely to pay for itself, then that has to be taken into account as well, I suppose...

i look forward to your feedback on this, and that of other commenters who have fact-based knowledge about this as well...