Chris has had his commercials running over the last 2-3 weeks and I have begun a cursory look into Mr. Coons' claims.
1.) He claims to have taken the reigns of county council steeped in corruption and debt. Interestingly, in 2005 Chris Coons said the County's finances were "fundamentally sound"
"While the county's economic health is ‘fundamentally sound,' Coons said, there's been a widening gap between expenses and revenues in the past several years. His proposals would help avoid a projected $152 million shortfall by 2009." (Angie Basiouny, "NCCo Exec Proposes Reining In Spending," The [Wilmington, DE] News Journal, 3/30/05)
It turns out that in 2009, The News Journal reported that Coons said "‘We're 18 Months From Being Out Of Money -- Unable To Operate, Not To Use The "B" Word,'"
"‘We're 18 Months From Being Out Of Money -- Unable To Operate, Not To Use The "B" Word,' Coons Said, In A Reference To Bankruptcy. ‘That's where we are, and it's at a time when many families are struggling, and they're looking to government to help them.'" (Jeff Montgomery, "Sobering Challenges Reflected In Speeches," The [Wilmington, DE] News Journal, 1/22/09)Now this seems to me to be a bit of a quandary for Mr. Coons. His commercial says that he balanced the budget as County Executive, yet the County went from "fundamentally sound" to "unable to operate".
A deeper inspection reveals even more problems with his commercial. He uses the AAA bond rating of the County as proof of his fiscal conservatism but what he doesn't tell you is that he raised taxes 3 times since he took the reigns in 2005.
In 2006 Chris proposed a 5% increase in property taxes that his Democrat controlled County Council passed instead of cutting spending.
Just a year later in 2007, Coons again had to initiate a tax increase. This time the bill was blown up by 17.5%. Again, he chose to raise taxes instead of working to reduce the cost of county government.
In 2009, amidst the height of "the worst recession since the Great Depression" Chris Coons brought yet ANOTHER tax increase to his Democratically controlled County Council. The result was a 25% increase in property taxes and not a DIME cut from the budget.
In fact, the bond rating company (Fitch Ratings) that has given the County the AAA bond rating said they only did so because Coons increased takes by 25% in 2009 which made the County more stable. Between 2004 and 2009 (when Coons has been in charge) the County lost more than 30% of it's reserves. Despite his claims to have balanced the budget, New Castle County carries a debt burden of $1,639 per man, woman and child in the county.
Still think Coons is a fiscal conservative? The County's spending has increased 10% since he took over and the county budget has grown by a DRAMATIC 33%! Prior to becoming County Executive, Chris voted for every operating budget submitted by his predecessor whom he now claims to have save the county from. In 2008, as cash balances fell, Fitch Ratings put a watch on the county. That watch was a warning that downgraded the status of the county finances from "stable" to "negative". Coons' answer? Not cutting spending on rapidly accelerating union worker costs, not working to slash and cut budget line items that the county couldn't afford. No, his answer was to raise taxes by 25%.
This is NOT the resume of a fiscal conservative.