Oswego, NY –
The two candidates in the hotly contested 48th Senate District met here at WRVO yesterday for an hour-long debate.
WRVO's Joyce Gramza reports that host Grant Reeher asked the candidates whether they'd promise not to raise taxes.
Republican Patty Ritchie is challenging Democratic Senator Darrel Aubertine.
Richie says she's knocked on 7000 doors and heard the same answer from voters about how to solve New York's problems. But Aubertine says he learned from his experience in Albany that it's not so simple.
The incumbent Aubertine said he successfully fought to retain jobs in the state despite the deep recession.
Richie said she believes she can cut taxes while creating jobs.
"Campbell Conversations" host Grant Reeher asked each candidate whether they would take the risky pledge that came back to haunt Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, of not raising taxes.
Ritchie said she'll take that pledge because it's what voters want.
"That's what I keep hearing over and over again. People don't want the state to raise taxes anymore. They have to live within their means. If they have to make sacrifices, they're making sacrifices. The state has not made any sacrifices," Ritchie said.
But Aubertine said he was unwilling to take a pledge that could be broken in other ways because of other things voters want.
"If you want to continue a sports program in your school district, get used to the idea of your property taxes going up," he said. "I'll take credit for not raising your property taxes because that will be done locally. But make no mistake: your taxes will be going up."
The two agree there's money to be saved by attacking wasteful spending, but they disagree about how much.
Ritchie said at a meeting in Albany, one commissioner she met had some 10 deputies, each making six-figure salaries. "There's 900 people working for the state that make more than the Governor. That's the kind of stuff that has to go," she said.
Aubertine agrees there is fraud and waste to be eliminated, but says it is a small part of New York's budget woes. "If we fired every single driver, every deputy commissioner, you wouldn't even get a fraction of what's going to be needed to close some of the deficits."
Join WRVO for the entire debate this evening starting at 7p.m.