FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato
Republic also debunks claims in attack ad, erroneous Stanton press releases
PHOENIX – Phoenix city bureaucrats have been forced to explain where more than $200 million in unaccounted taxpayer dollars are being spent in response to questions raised by Mayoral candidate Wes Gullett.
A report in this morning’s Arizona Republic includes an alarming discovery that the city has budgeted a 10 percent increase in spending – $230 million – despite claims that the budget would only increase by 1 percent. The city was forced to explain how this slush fund will be spent, only after Gullett raised the issue.
Amazingly, Stanton defends this practice and the status quo, calling Phoenix “not perfect – but well run” in a press release today.
“We can’t continue to play this shell game with taxpayer money,” Gullett said. “This is the game Greg Stanton played for nine years on the City Council and would continue to play as Mayor. It’s actually frightening that someone who wants to be Mayor would just believe everything city bureaucrats put in front of him and refuse to ask any tough questions.”
The story also outlines in detail Wes Gullett’s plan to immediately repeal the food tax and pay for it. Gullett outlines specific savings for finding more than the $50 million needed to repeal that tax. Stanton continues to find excuses to keep the tax on the books for at least another two years, removing money from the economy and hurting families who are struggling to get by.
“I’ve put forward specific plans to get rid of the food tax and pay for it,” Gullett said. “Greg Stanton refuses to because he needs this tax to pay for his big government agenda.”
The Republic also debunks an attack ad against Gullett that is airing on television based on erroneous press releases by the Stanton campaign.
The story knocks down an oft-repeated claim by Stanton that Gullett is lobbying for a $100 million tax for the arts. “Gullett isn’t lobbying for the tax,” the story states.
Additionally, the story highlights that Gullett never worked for the Phoenix Association of Realtors, despite claims by the Stanton campaign that he did.
In fact, the only candidate in this race who has voted to benefit a client he was being paid by was Greg Stanton, as reported by the Republic in a separate 2007 investigation. According to the story, Stanton actually voted eight times to benefit his client, and even used his office and taxpayer resources to profit – a violation of state law.
“Stanton also used city email, newsletters and meetings to talk up partnerships among Phoenix, the Maricopa colleges and Arizona universities,” the Republic reported. While getting paid by his client, Stanton made sure to put himself in positions where he could have influence over pet college causes. He chaired the council’s education committee and sat on the panel advising GateWay Community College.
It’s not clear whether Stanton ever stopped these practices before quitting his job on the Council. Once caught, Stanton actually defended the unethical practices, despite an outside expert telling the Republic, he was “not acting impartially.”
At a recent debate, Stanton admitted the violations.