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Raja and Fitzgerald Continue Attacks Over Taxes, Latest TV Ad (With Video)

By Natalka Karaman, Contributing Writer

The battle for Allegheny County Executive rages on. Republican Raja and Democrat Rich Fitzgerald continued their back-and-forth this week, this time about Raja’s proposal to eliminate the drink tax.

On Friday, Raja released a new television ad in which he proposes eliminating the 7 percent drink tax and freezing property taxes for low income seniors. Raja plans to announce his full seniors policy on Thursday, which will focus on the property freeze tax.

The ad calls Fitzgerald a career politician who stands for “politics as usual.” Raja’s campaign points to the unemployment rate, which apparently doubled under Fitzgerald, and the increase in government spending in Allegheny county.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeuWIB6EjZA

James Genovese, Raja’s campaign manager said, “This county has seen enough of go along to get along politicians like Rich Fitzgerald. It is time for someone with bold ideas willing to bring the real change we need here in Allegheny County. That is what this TV Ad is about. That is what Raja is about.”

The Fitzgerald campaign tore up the ad in a heated press release. They called it false, claiming that Raja secretly plans to pay for his drink plan by raising property taxes.

Fitzgerald’s campaign manager Mike Mikus said, “Raja’s campaign commercials are filled with one falsehood after another because he knows that voters will never vote for a CEO like Raja who outsources jobs and was caught not paying the minimum wage. This is especially true when they learn that he’s going to raise their property taxes.”

They point to an article in the Tribune Review in which Raja withheld details about his plans for county budget cuts, saying that the drink tax brings in less than 2 percent of the county’s budget, but not specifying where his cuts would be.

Fitzgerald defended his tax by claiming it was the only way the county could meet its $28 million obligation to the Port Authority yearly without raising property taxes.

Fitzgerald also defends himself saying that property taxes in the county have remained level for ten years, proving that he froze property taxes.

Fitzgerald’s prebuttal was issued today, and pointed to the fact that Fitzgerald authored the Homestead Exemption on property taxes (a flat $15,000 cut in home value for tax purposes that gives extra help to those in low-valued homes) and supported property tax relief for low-income seniors too.

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