Monday, October 25, 2010

Onorato/Corbett Fact Check

WDUQ spent some time over the weekend fact checking some of the ads Pennsylvania’s two candidates for governor are running. A new commercial for Republican Tom Corbett doesn’t fudge the facts, but misleads voters by leaving out contextual information. At the beginning of spot, a woman tells viewers Allegheny County has lost 21-thousand jobs during Onorato’s tenure as county executive. While the figure is correct, the spot leaves out the context that Allegheny County’s unemployment rate has stayed below the state and national average. The latest figures on the federal Department of Labor’s website show an 8.0% unemployment rate here, compared to Pennsylvania’s 8.9% figure and the national 9.5% unemployment rate. The ad goes on to say, “Who ran on a promise of cutting property taxes ten percent, and broke his promise? Dan Onorato.” That’s true, but property taxes haven’t gone up during Onorato’s two terms, either. And as the Democrat is quick to point out at every opportunity, he fought against a court-ordered property reassessment, which would have likely increased property taxes for county residents. The woman in the ad also says Onorato supports a “massive energy tax.” She’s referring to a tax on natural gas extraction – not a cap-and-trade measure.

On the other side, a new ad from Democrat Dan Onorato warns senior citizens that Republican Tom Corbett could eliminate state health services, if he becomes governor. In truth, Corbett has never voiced support for any of the positions the commercial warns about – so the ad is misleading. Onorato’s new spot cuts right to the chase saying, “Corbett’s plan could slash meals on wheels. Cut home health care services. Stop Alzheimer’s outreach. And limit funding for senior centers.” The ad is entirely hypothetical. Corbett has never talked about cutting any of these health care programs. Onorato’s campaign justifies the attack by pointing out the Republican has said, “everything is on the table,” when it comes to cutting state spending. The ad does accurately point out Corbett has joined a lawsuit aimed at overturning the new federal health care law – but frames the challenge as suing to “stop seniors from getting health coverage,” which isn’t true. Corbett has argued the new health care law violates the constitution by mandating the purchase of health care. He says he’s in favor of expanding health care and reducing the cost of coverage – he just doesn’t support the new federal law.

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