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Latest Corbett Attack Ad Misleads Voters, Deflects from Corbett’s Lack of Economi Experience and Record of Increasing Taxes

Latest Corbett Attack Ad Misleads Voters, Deflects from Corbett’s Lack of Economi Experience and Record of Increasing Taxes
 
PITTSBURGH:  Harrisburg Republican Tom Corbett’s latest attack ad is more of the same… baseless accusations and false statements.  While Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has helped create thousands of jobs, Tom Corbett has never created a single job.  And where Onorato has enacted six balanced budgets without ever raising property taxes, Corbett increased property taxes by 20% and now supports a $3 billion tax hike on workers. 
 
Corbett Attack AdThe Facts
“Onorato broke his promise to cut property taxes.  Now they’re among the highest in the U.S.”

Allegheny County’s property tax burden is down under Dan Onorato’s leadership.  The Corbett ad cites a 9/30/2010 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story, based on a report by the Tax Foundation that puts the Allegheny County property tax burden at 42nd highest in the nation in 2009, at 2.09% of home value.  In 2005 – the oldest data available from the Tax Foundation – Allegheny County was the 15th highest in the nation, at 2.35% of home value.  Onorato’s property tax policies – described below – have helped reduce the property tax burden.  In addition, the report is based not on county property taxes alone (which are the only ones that Onorato controls), but on county, school district and municipal property taxes combined. 
 
Dan Onorato has never increased property taxes. 

As Allegheny County Executive, Onorato has enacted 6 balanced budgets – all with no increases in property taxes.  Last month, he proposed his 7th consecutive balanced budget to hold the line on property taxes.
 
Dan Onorato prevented a back-door property tax hike.  Onorato also fought a court-ordered reassessment all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  The reassessment would have meant skyrocketing property taxes for many homeowners – which Onorato blocked.

“Onorato’s excessive tax increases forced small businesses to close…The Corbett ad’s reference to “excessive tax increases” is not supported by facts.  The ad appears to make a highly misleading reference to the drink tax and a tax on car rentals – which were the only options the Legislature gave the county in order to avoid a property tax hike to fund public transportation. 
 
The Corbett ad’s accusation is based on a small number of bars that refused to pay their taxes.  The Corbett ad cites an article that appeared in the Tribune-Review on 7/26/2010.  According to the article: “some [bars were] shut down by the county for unpaid drink taxes, while others closed on their own while holding past-due balances.”  One of the bars quoted in the article was “one of the worst drink tax delinquents.”

…while larger employers left the region.”Dan Onorato has helped attract businesses to the region.  Under Onorato’s leadership and as a result of his focus on jobs, over $11 billion of investment and development have been announced in Allegheny County since Onorato took office.
 
The Corbett ad cites U.S. Airways – which was in bankruptcy before Dan Onorato ever took office.  U.S. Airways’s decisions to reduce its Pittsburgh operations unfolded throughout 2003, whereas Onorato took office in January 2004.  As a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article from 12/26/2003 reported: “layoffs… have reduced the airline’s work force from about 46,000 prior to the Sept. 11 attacks to about 28,000 now. In Pittsburgh, the airline’s work force has fallen during this same period from more than 12,000 to about 8,000.”  Even Jim Roddey – the County Republican leader, Corbett backer and incumbent County Executive who Onorato defeated in 2003 – wrote in a December 2003 op-ed that, “While we must do everything within fiscal reason to keep US Airways, it is not likely to survive without a merger that will almost certainly put our hub status at risk.” [Post-Gazette, 12/21/2003]
 
Westinghouse did not leave the region – it created more jobs here.  Contrary to the ad’s statement that Westinghouse left the region, it actually decided to expand in the region instead of moving to another state.  As the newspaper article cited on screen reports: “Westinghouse’s plan to build a 775,000-square-foot, $140 million nuclear energy campus in Cranberry Woods, an office park at the corner of Interstate 79 and Route 228, was the subject of fist-pumping celebration yesterday in fast-growing Butler County….  Westinghouse expects to add at least 1,000 workers over the next five years, and it’s possible that the number could grow to 2,000.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/21/2007]

“…a tragic 21,000 more people were added to the unemployment line.”Under Onorato’s leadership, Allegheny County has largely withstood the national recession.  In fact, the opening paragraph of the article shown on the screen during the ad even says the Pittsburgh region’s unemployment is “still far better than state and U.S. rates.” [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 12/31/2008]
 
Allegheny County’s most recent unemployment rate is 7.9%, compared to 9.2% for Pennsylvania and 9.6% for the United States (August 2010).  And Allegheny County has more jobs than any county in Pennsylvania.

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