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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ott's Stealth Tax Hike

Lehigh County Exec candidate Scott Ott has started the robocalls. He's got one that starts with this doozy.

"Lower taxes, less spending. That's isn't a slogan, it's my record!"

Quite the opposite. Ott's so-called reform team has amended the 2014 budget submitted by County Executive Croslis and will vote on that tonight. It is now their budget. It is expected to pass with at least five votes (Ott and his block). So let's see how the budget for 2014 (that Ott will vote for) stacks up against his campaign promises.:

Does it reduce spending? 

No. The amount of County spending covered by property taxes that Ott will approve for 2014 is $110.9 million. This is up from $108.8 million for this year (2013) and is also up from $109.3 million for 2012, which he used as an excuse to ride Dean Browning out of office. At that time, Ott promised to "not just slow the growth in spending but to actually reduce spending."

Funny thing. For two years straight, then Commissioner Dean Browning and then Exec Don Cunningham Cunningham really did reduce spending. All of that will be undone tonight with Ott's 2014 budget.

It will be an all time high for County spending.

So Ott's robocall is deceptive. It is certainly not telling voters the truth.

Does it reduce taxes?

Once again, No. Every single taxpayer will pay more next year than they do now. It's a stealth tax hike.

You see, this year's budget includes a credit of $3,500,000 ($21.82 per taxpayer). Next year's does not. Lehigh County taxpayers will have to dig into their pockets for $3,500,000 more to pay their tax bill in 2014.
So not only has Ott not kept his promise from 2011 to eliminate the 16% tax increase, he has actually increased taxes.


Anonymous said...

Scott cannot be expected to undo all the damage Cunningham and Muller did overnight. Scott is one of nine commissioners. Once he is elected County Executive, he will turn around the tax and spend policy of the fake Dem, Country club mustachioed Muller.

You hate the fact that Scott Ott will become the next county executive without kissing your ass like Callahan. That really burns you.

Muller is an arrogant ass that wants to buy another new corvette on the county dime. We don't need a publically paid millionaire.

Vote reality, vote
Scott Ott!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

In other words, Scott can lie to the voters.

Anonymous said...

in other words you are a devout ass hole ohairless

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:19

Nice try at changing the focus. The fact of the matter is that every single taxpayer in Lehigh County will pay MORE next year than they did this year. The Commissioners did not renew the $3,500,000 credit that everyone got this year. So taxpayers like me will have to dig into our pockets to come up with that money in 2014. It certainly was within Ott and his block's capacity to keep the credit or to reduce the millage rate by that amount and they chose not to. Their failure to do that can't be blamed on Cunningham or on Muller or on George Bush.

And what happened to eliminating the 16% increase? That was Ott's specific promise in 2011.

Anonymous said...

He couldn't change everything in one term, although he got enough accomplished to make Bernie's tampon overfloweth. Ha! I love it! Nicely done, Scott! You have my vote.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:25

Really? That's your response?

Let's see - Ott promised to:

1. Stop spending down reserves except he hasn't since reserves have decreased from $25 million when he took office to $17 million with his current budget.
2. He promised to balance the budget except he hasn't since the deficit has increased from $4.7 million to $7.7 million since he has been in office.
3. He promised to actually decrease spending except he hasn't since it has gone from $109.3 million to 110.9 million (an all time high for the County) since he took office.
4. He promised eliminate the 16% and to reduce taxes except he hasn't. Under the budget he and his block put together for next year, taxpayers will pay more in 2014 than they did this year ($3.5 million more) AND they will actually pay more than they did in 2012 ($1.4 million more).

So all Ott has accomplished is to demonstrate that he can't keep a single one of his campaign promises - even with a "veto proof" majority. But not to worry - he has your vote.

Anonymous said...

Dues Scott Ott pay any county real estate taxes? Am I wrong about my understanding that he lives in a rental? Or has this changed since he became a commissioner? Question on spending. What was the spending as presented by Crosiis? Was it higher or lower initially? Did the Commissioners increase or lower the amount of spending presented? Certainly Ott did not accomplish his proposed objective of drastically reducing spending or lowering taxes. The truth is if he lives in a rental unit he only feels the results of his actions 2nd hand. It is state and federal taxes he may feel. In his heart Scott may believe that while he is opposed to give outs to everyone else he may secretly desire that if taxes must be paid, others should pay it.

Anonymous said...

Muller has had sole control over preparing the same budgets that overspend and tax too much, yet Ott gets the criticism for them? That makes sense.

So let me make sure I understand this:

Muller gives us a 16% tax hike, that's good.

Ott helps to reduce that tax hike, that's bad.

Muller's budgets contain unsustainable spending, that's good.

Ott, proposes cuts to those budgets, that's bad.

It would seem to me that we need a change in the person preparing the budgets, as we clearly know what happens when that person is Muller.

That's what the election is all about, and why Ott is the person to vote for.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:02

Ott has blamed the 16% increase on everyone (Browning, Muller, Spot the Wonder Dog, etc) other than the one person who was actually responsible - Don Cunningham.

Regardless of that, Ott ran in 2011 saying that the increase was unnecessary and that he would eliminate it. You remember that don't you? The actual result is that he didn't even try to eliminate the 16%. The millage rate reduction he boasts about (2.75% according to his flyers) resulted in an increase in the deficit. Cutting taxes and increasing the deficit has worked wonders in Washington so why not try it in Lehigh County.

Ott also was very specific that he would cut spending, not slow the growth but actually cut spending. He hasn't done that as the 2014 budget he and his block amended actually increases spending - a real year over year increase. As a matter of fact, at the last meeting Ott opposed an amendment to the budget that would have reduced spending by $1,000,000. Blame and spin all you want but the fact remains that Ott sold you and the other voters who put him in office a bill of goods.

Bernie O'Hare said...


It does make sense. About the only real power a Comm'r has is the power of the purse. A budget may be proposed by an administration, but it is the Comm'rs who make the calls and do the spending.

It is their budget.

Ott ran for Comm'r on that issue, remember? He said he would roll back the 16% tax hike. Remember?

He didn't. He said he would cut taxes. He just increased them. He said he'd cut spending. he will vote tonight for a budget that spends more than any budget ever in Lehigh County.

As a Democrat, I'm used to irresponsible spending. But I would think some of you republicans should be shaking your heads by now.

You selected a con artist over a real fiscal conservative like Dean Browning. Where does he go to get his reputation back?

And just as he left an unfinished theatre with a mortgage and tarpaper on the roof, just as he left the seminary without finishing, Ott will leave Lehigh County high and dry.

Anonymous said...


You should double check with Muller as to whose budgets they are. His campaign pieces indicate that HE twice gave the taxpayers a break, in the form of two "one-time" tax rebates. I guess the rebates were Muller's, but the tax hike was Cunningham's (or someone else's).

As to your article on Ott and the Theatre, I found it laughable that you were taking Ott to task for not paying off the mortgage in two years. The current Theatre President apparently hasn't managed to do that in twenty years. Maybe you should follow up on that.

The reality is that Ott's actions did cut the tax rate in the 2013 budget, and has cut spending from both the Muller-prepared budgets he received.

In short, he's spent less and taxed less than Muller.

Try as you might, there's no way that you can twist that into Muller being better for the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

8:34 am...you must have slept through business class 101 when you were in college. Any cost that a business endures is passed onto the consumer in order for the business to make a profit. So while a person who rents might not personally write a check to the county, he makes a payment to his landlord, who in turn pays property taxes. In order for his landlord to make a profit from renting his property, he has to include in each month’s rent what he pays in property taxes, maintenance, and more. How is this any different from me who makes a mortgage payment to the bank, money is put into escrow fund and the bank cuts a check to the county? You Scott Ott haters need to come up with some new stuff! Vote Ott in 2013!

Gerald Moyer said...

If your tired of the hackneyed pseudo liberal spin that pervades this blog try visiting Scrappleface.com, a lighthearted alternative that has been lauded by both Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin.

Ott brings a blend of multimedia offerings that are cleverly describes as "fairly unbalanced", if you want to know the real Scott Ott it is mandatory reading.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:07

You are correct in outlining how rent is determined. However, you miss a couple of points. First, since Ott is not a property owner he doesn't know what it's like to get a school tax bill for $2,500 and wonder where the money is going to come from. Secondly, there isn't an immediate link between changes in property tax rates and rent. Ott led the charge on making sure reassessment happened this year with the result that his landlord saw his total tax bill go down by $1,000. Are you saying that $1,000 went to Ott?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"As to your article on Ott and the Theatre, I found it laughable that you were taking Ott to task for not paying off the mortgage in two years"

Ott takes credit for that theatre in a mailer that hit today. Sounds like i was right to discuss it after all. And it is Ott who promised to pay that mortgage in two years, then skipped town. But by all means, vote for him. I don't live in LC and it will be great blog fodder.

Anonymous said...

All i know is I'm getting sick of these endless robo calls.