Sen. Anthony Williams is using some of that cash he’s been raking in to launch another attack at county Executive Dan Onorato. The ad _ you can find a clip on PoliticsPa.com _ attacks Mr. Onorato for his support for “the biggest tax increase in his county’s history’’ a reference to the drink and rental car tax the county enacted to come up with its share of transit funding. It goes on to tie the tax revenue to the Port Authority’s controversial North Shore connector for its light rail system _ a project the ad calls an “unfinished half-billion boondoggle,’’ and a “tunnel to nowhere.’’
This is the third ad Mr. Williams has aimed at Mr. Onorato. So far, there’s no evidence from the public polling on the race that the assault has done much damage.
Mr. Onorato has fired back with commercials tying the state senator to pay raises and business as usual in Harrisburg. Friday night, the campaign shot back with this statment:
"The ad is false and misleading, while Dan Onorato's record is clear. He has helped lead Allegheny County's economic revival, while balancing the budget of Pennsylvania's second-largest county six years in a row without once raising property taxes. Pennsylvanians deserve better this desperate attack ad, and clearly the voters know it.''
He has in the past defended the drink tax increase as necessary to avoid an increase in local porperty taxes. Mr. Onorato has also said he would have preferred to capture some of the revenue from the one-perent sales taxes levied by the county's Regional Asset District rather than impose the drink tax. He contends that the state Legislature wouldn;t let him follow his plan A. Such a move, however, would have had the effect of taking revenue from municipalites within the county. But Mr. Onoroto argues that the loss of revenue would have been spread widely enough to limit its impact.