Analysis: County GOP Flier On Mayor’s Race Fails Political Truth Test

An editorial analysis.

kramer flierA political flier put out last weekend by the Somerset County Republican Organization supporting the mayoral bid of Chris Kelly has ruffled the feathers of his Democratic rival.

And probably with good reason.

The flier, which features a cartoon of a man with a Pinocchio-like nose, criticizes Township Councilman Phil Kramer for what it calls his self-styling as a “budget hawk.”

Kramer, the flier asserts, voted the past five years for budgets that raised township taxes by more than $7 million.

“Phil Kramer either doesn’t understand what a budget hawk is, or he is lying to residents,” the flier states.

The problem with the flier is that Kramer, in his public statements, has never claimed credit for reducing the municipal portion of property taxes. What he does claim, and what the”budget hawk” nickname refers to, is his efforts to keep spending in check since he has been on the council.

In fact Kramer, in his statement to the FR&A in the candidate’s information section, writes, “The plain truth is anyone who promises to cut your taxes is lying. Taxes like everything else goes up.”

Figures supplied buy the township show that the overall budget decreased in 2010 and 2011, and has been edging up incrementally since.

But, as Kramer points out, the township is still spending less than it did in 2009, when Kramer took office.

And that’s all he’s claimed during his campaign.

“I carefully review the budget with an eye on removing unnecessary items,” Kramer said, in defining what he means by “budget hawk.”

No one from the county GOP responded to a request for comment on the flier.

We rate this flier a “fail” because it misstates what Kramer has been claiming during the campaign, and does so in a particularly nasty way.


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