Onorato sees Corbett hypocrisy on spending
PHILADELPHIA—Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato laced into his Republican rival on the issue of spending Wednesday, saying Attorney General Tom Corbett was being hypocritical by promising to slash spending even while his state row office has consistently sought larger budget appropriations.
Corbett has pledged not to raise taxes if elected governor, promising to cut spending instead. But noting that Corbett’s office has requested annual budget increases that average out to seven percent each year, Onorato said Corbett’s plans for the budget are suspect.
“You can say one thing, but actions mean something else,” Onorato said during a morning news conference at City Hall here.
“It’s no wonder than even his Republican allies increasingly question whether Tom Corbett can keep his budget promises,” Onorato said. “Pennsylvania is facing a budget crisis and the next governor needs to understand the problem and know how to make the state live within its means. I am the only candidate who can get that job done.”
Corbett campaign spokesman Kevin Harley said it’s Onorato who’s the hypocrite.
“Onorato raises the standard of hypocrisy to new levels,” Harley said. “This is a guy who implemented the largest tax increase in the history of Allegheny County, who has increased spending since he’s taken office and he has proposed nearly $4 billion in new spending as governor.”
Harley also argued that the Attorney General’s office brings in more money than it takes from the state, in the form of forfeitures and lawsuit awards. “His budget pays for itself every year,” he said. Later, Corbett’s row office provided figures showing that it brought in $122 million worth of future savings and recoveries during the 2009 calendar year, compared to a $40 million budget during the fiscal year.
In a case of ironic timing, Onorato’s comments coincided with the Corbett campaign’s launch of its “50 Ways to Rebuild Pennsylvania” initiative, during which Corbett will roll out various policy prescriptions.
One of the first two ideas is to cut the cost of state government by 10 percent.
“I will save the taxpayers of Pennsylvania money by reducing government administrative operations by 10 percent in all branches of government over four years,” Corbett wrote on his campaign Web site. “In this economic climate, Pennsylvania businesses and families have to do more with less, and their government should be held to the same standard.”
Corbett’s proposed spending in increases for his state offices have ranged from 3.9 percent during the 2008-09 fiscal year to a high of 13 percent for the 2010-11 fiscal year. Those requests were made to the governor’s budget office, but he’s sought smaller increases when making his budget requests to the legislature. Corbett’s campaign has recently pushed back against the spending narrative in the press, but to little avail.
“This isn’t political rhetoric,” Onorato said. “These are facts.”
See a video clip from Onorato’s news conference below.
September 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm