|Ott on the campaign trail|
Though in control of a five-person majority of like-minded people on a Board with seven Republicans, Ott has broken every one of the promises he made when he ran for office two years ago. But this is one Sunday School teacher who still thinks you're stupid enough to believe him, and is campaigning on the very promises he already has broken.
In robo-calls and campaign ads, he still perpetuates the myth that he's a fiscal conservative who really has reduced spending and cut taxes
His record is quite the opposite. He knows this. I've been telling you this from my perch atop the Indian Tower in Nazareth for the past two weeks. He's failed to roll back the 16% tax hike he condemned. The Budget he voted for is a $2.1 spending increase over last year, for a whopping $111 million. That's the most money that Lehigh County has ever spent in a single year. He increased the deficit from $7.3 million to $7.7 million, leaving the County's reserves at a bare $17 million. Finally, he supported a 3.4% tax hike over what Lehigh County residents paid last year.
Amazingly, this guy is the favorite.
His campaign literature and robocalls falsely claim he has cut taxes and reduced spending. But he screwed up last week. Not only did he do horribly in a debate at Allentown's NAAC. He also botched an interview with tea party friendly radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh. He suddenly grew forgetful when asked about whether he has really cut spending.
Gunther: "Now here's the problem according to this report. You pass the Budget, you cut some spending? Is that what it does? You said it cut spending.
Ott: "It cuts - I gotta' look at the final numbers because we were still batting around various amendments - but my understanding is I think the newspaper report is somewhere in the neighborhood of two and a half million was cut from the proposal.
Gunther: "Wait, is that two and half million from the proposal or two and a half million reduction in spending?
Ott: "Um, I'll have to look at that because I'm -
Guther: "Wait, wait, wait, woah, woah, woah. Wait, woah. So you are Nancy Pelosi? You voted on it but you don't know what's in it?
Ott: "Gunther. I will openly acknowledge that I think it's probably the case that it's a cut from the proposal, not a cut from the actual year to year. Last year, we did a year-to-year spending cut. This year they came to us with a catastrophe and basically said., 'Look, we've got a major problem that cost us an extra $3.8 million.' They tried to dip $10 million out of the stabilization fund.We reduced that dip down to $7.5 million. The County is still deficit spending and we haven't dealt with the fundamentals that drive that yet. The new Executive is really going to have to deal with it, or we're gonna' face a 2015 tax hike, which is not a possibility with me.
Gunther: "So you passed a budget.I gotta' tell you, that's kinda' a disappointing answer. You voted and passed something but you're not sure what you voted for, so that's a bit -
Ott: "- No. Guther, it's not that I'm not sure what i voted for. We had 13 amendments on an 800-page budget, and i know that was in the ballpark of $2.5 million. But not all the amendments in the initial amendments that were proposed got passed, so if you like, I can detail the ones that did, but I assume you probably don't have enough time for that.
Gunther: "No, it's not that. You don't know whether it's a cut in spending or a cut in the proposal. You think it's a cut in the proposal so we have not cut spending with this budget.
Ott: "I don't know the answer to that offhand -
Gunther: "-That's what I'm saying. That's the part that's the disappointing answer.
If I know that Ott's budget increases spending to Lehigh County's highest level ever, so does he. It seems that even Bobby Gunther Walsh considers Ott's answers "disappointing."