John Callahan: What Exactly Are You Proud Of?

After Handpicking Callahan As Successor, Former Bethlehem Mayor Says City “Operating In The Red”

“Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham used a word about Bethlehem finances that the city’s mayor has refused to say.  Red… as in ink.  Bethlehem’s audit showed Bethlehem finished 2009 with a $5.2 million deficit last year, but Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan doesn’t describe it that way.” (Nicole Radzievich, “Quote from Callahan’s Mentor Fodder in the Campaign,” Morning Call, 9/1/2010)

“Debt payments come from the General Fund, and when the audit factored those payments into last year’s balance sheet, the city ended up with more liabilities than assets – a deficit that, when coupled with 2008’s deficit, brings the city’s fund balance to a negative $8.5 million.  The negative fund balance also accounts for bills the city put off because it didn’t have enough money to pay in 2009.  Cunning, Bethlehem’s former mayor and once Callahan’s political mentor, acknowledged Bethlehem’s predicament this week when discussing the county’s own fiscal challenge as he proposes a 16 percent tax increase in Lehigh.  He told Morning Call reporter Jenna Portnoy: ‘I don’t want to get in trouble with my colleagues, but right now Bethlehem and Allentown don’t have the equivalent of a $20 million reserve fund.  They’re operating at a zero cash reserves, and at certain points of the year, they’re operating in the red.’” (Nicole Radzievich, “Quote from Callahan’s Mentor Fodder in the Campaign,” Morning Call, 9/1/2010)

Callahan’s Record of “Unpaid Bills” And Record Deficits: “The Largest In The City’s Recent Memory”

“Bethlehem had $4.9 million in unpaid bills at the end of the year, nearly eight times more than the $633,018 it finished with in 2008, according to a draft copy of the audit obtained by The Morning Call. . . . The audit also states Bethlehem violated legal and contractual provisions as it struggled to find cash to pay bills. The violations cited in the audit include transferring money without required City Council approval and spending earned income taxes that were collected by Bethlehem but belonged to other municipalities.” (Jarrett Renshaw, “Bethlehem Couldn’t Pay Bills in 2009,” Morning Call, 8/18/2010)

“This is the second year in a row that Bethlehem’s audit showed the city in the red. It had a $3.2 million deficit in 2008 that, when coupled with this year’s deficit, has resulted in a negative fund balance of $8.5 million — the largest in the city’s recent memory.” (Nicole Radzievich, “Anger, Reproach Over Deficit,” Morning Call, 8/11/2010)

Callahan’s Record Of Hiking Taxes Four Times In Four Years

“[John Callahan has a] disastrous and partisan record of raising property taxes and increasing spending. Callahan has offered his continuous support for the Democrats’ big-spending, big-government agenda by voting for or endorsing property tax increases four times in four years (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005), including his own proposal to raise property taxes by 13.4 percent – the largest tax increase in 15 years.” (Press Release, National Republican Congressional Committee, 12/15/2009)


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