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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, September 10, 2010

While Callahan Hampers Main Street Merchants, Dent Listens to Them

Earlier this week, I told you that one Bethlehem City employee is scratching his head at Mayor John Callahan's job creation program. In the Christmas City, where he's the boss, that plan consists of a hiring freeze and threatened layoffs.

Private sector businessmen are scratching their heads, too. You see, he promises to create jobs on Main Street, but he's been fighting tooth and nail against Main Street businesses for parking solutions to help merchants like the Hotel Bethlehem on the lower end of Main Street. Incredibly, he'd rather blow Bethlehem's limited resources on an ice rink than repair a storm water drainage problem in the Lehigh Valley's most beautiful shopping district.

Some of these businessman are also grumbling that while Callahan is running for Congress, he's doing nothing as mayor, except to collect his full paycheck. Even Sam Bennett, with all her flaws, had her salary reduced at Properties of Merit when she decided to run for Congress.

While Callahan alienates both the City workforce and some Main Street businesses, LV Congressman Charlie Dent yesterday participated in a roundtable with local small business leaders in Allentown.

One candidate thumbs his nose at the small mom-and-pops, even hot dog vendors. The other listens to and supports them.

“Clearly, our nation will depend on small businesses to jump start our economic recovery,” Dent explained. “I learned today that many of these businesses are eager to expand, but hesitant to invest in their own growth because today’s economic environment is dominated by a sense of uncertainty. Congress has unfortunately contributed to this uncertainty by failing to address the looming tax increases, imposing burdensome new mandates and spending beyond our means.”

Dent learned yesterday that these small mom-and-pops are concerned about the impending expiration of tax provisions that have helped them invest greater resources into the development of their businesses. Just yesterday, President Obama was scoffing at the very idea, suggesting an extension of these tax cuts would only help the top 3%.

Small business leaders are concerned that they may soon face devastating tax increases on top of taxes and other costs imposed by the health care law.

Dent supports extending current tax relief provisions. Dent has also co-sponsored two Bills to help business:

H.R. 5554, the Small Business Assistance and Relief Act, would help small business owners dedicate greater resources to hiring employees, purchasing new equipment, and conducting innovative research, while reducing the excessive amount of time they devote to completing paperwork created by onerous federal mandates.

H.R. 5109, the Small Business Bill of Rights, would provide additional tax relief by eliminating capital gains on small business stock for 10 years, implementing a 5 year small business exemption from the harmful death tax, and providing the same tax advantages large employers receive for purchasing health insurance to self-employed individuals.

Finally, Dent supports efforts to increase tax deductions associated with start-up expenses for new businesses. These proposals include increasing the deduction from the current level of $5,000 to $20,000 and increasing the phase-out threshold at which deductions would begin to be reduced from $50,000 to $75,000.


Anonymous said...

Dent has been in DC since 2005. his decision to help Main Street now shows how badly he failed since he went there. Dent was in Harrisburg for years. his inability to do anything about property taxes is what results in rising school, city and county taxes. Dent has failed Main Street. 2 months from election day, he hopes nobody notices while he listens.

The vibrancy of Main Street Bethlehem is a great testiment to Cunningham and Callahan's leadership over the past 10 years.

Anonymous said...

"One candidate thumbs his nose at the small mom-and-pops, even hot dog vendors. The other listens to and supports them."

i'm begging you, as a ;ong-time reader, and a guy who thinks dent wins this race running away, STOP TURNING THE BLOG INTO A CAMPAIGN AD FOR DENT.

it's ridiculous, and is detroying your credibility.

Anonymous said...

Throw out the incumbents.

Anonymous said...

A shameful attack. Very little integrity in these 15th Congressional posts.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you know you have touched a nerve when Callahan blogoons are trying to question your 'integrity' and warning you that your credibility is on the line. It's pretty pathetic actually. Things must be getting desperate for them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, if it were a question of interity or credibility, I should have stopped writing 4 years ago. That's how long I've been told I have neither.

I believe Charlie Dent belongs in Congress. I know no elected official in the LV better suited to the work involved there. I really appreciate the reflective way he looks at issues, even when I find myself in disagreement. He does his homework. I started off very suspicious of him, but he earned my vote, and has kept it since.

In the meantime, Washington is pouring money into Callahan's coffers. At the onset, he made things pretty clear with me. I was blacklisted. When I rwequested information under the RTKL, I had to go to the Open Records Office before Callahan gave me the information he said does not exist. His City finances are in a shambles, and it appears that he is ignoring the report of an independent auditor. he cames to be for Wall Street reform, but his biggest contributor runs the City pension fund and invests in risky hedge funds. He refused to take a tstand on health care, preferring to lead from the rear. I am deeply concerned that family members get preferential treatment. Yet, Dems are flocking to his banner. So I feel a need to share these stories.

Anonymous said...

On the issue at hand.

I find it absurd that merchants are crying about parking (and violating an historic area to provide more parking) where there is an immense parking garage RIGHT THERE next to their shops. 15 new spots is not going to drive business. I'd much rather have the Mayor spending money on the municipal skating rink that the city's kids can use as they have for as long as I remember.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No question on the need to get the ice rink done, but why can't both projects be accomplished?

Sure there are parking decks nearby. But, if for minimal cost some extra on-street parking can be added AND storm water drainage problems be addressed along with some beautification efforts in front of the smithy and pottery, why not? After all, just weeks ago the Callahan administration was willing to jam a $380,000 project down everyone's throats. What has changed?

As far as the ice rink goes, I absolutely feel the repairs should be done. However, Why should Bethlehem taxpayers should foot the bill alone for what has become a regional facility?

Anonymous said...

The merchants are the ones who went to Callahan and asked for more on street parking, then most turned against him when the Morvian Archives people started causing problems about pottery that "may be" in the ground in front of the smithy. They had their chance now let them park in the decks.

And Haines is one who should not talk. His hotel has its own parking deck, and he takes advanage of city lots under the Main St ramp to park guests for the wedding receptions---maybe the City should charge him for using those lots.

The ice rink is a revenue maker for the city...not the surroudning municipalities and therefore the city should pay for the repairs. They get all the benefit and bare all the responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone bothered to check if Dent is actually the second coming of Christ? You would think so by these posts.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Dent is running a campaign like a scared kitten. He doesn't even realize that his attack on Callahan's posiiton on the optional 1% sales tax for all local municipalities was championed by the Lehigh Valley Partnership. Not only are they some of the most powerful business leaders in the valley they are predominantly Republican. The 1% shared sales tax was their creation. Gee Charlie, do you think they too were wrong?????

Callahan has a proven record of regionalization and shared services. What is your record?

Anonymous said...

"Callahan has a proven record of regionalization and shared services."

And higher taxes, increased spending, and huge budget deficits. Some record. Sounds like the Callahan camp is in pure desperation mode.