With forty days until the election, tensions are running high in the 18th District state House race.
Republican State Rep. K.C. Tomlinson says her opponent is running blatantly false campaign ads. Tomlinson has held the seat since winning a special election earlier this year.
In a mailer sent out by the Harold Hayes campaign, they claim Tomlinson ignored a $1 billion gap in education funding.
However, Tomlinson says this is a lie. The number is actually from a study earlier this year projecting a loss in tax revenue for the entire state due to shut downs from the coronavirus pandemic.
The PA Association of School Business Officials released the study in August. It is available in its entirety here.
“Every school district tax source and other non-tax revenue will suffer a precipitous decline for the upcoming school year,” said Dr. Timothy J. Shrom, PASBO director of research.
But while Hayes claims Tomlinson ignored this issue, Tomlinson says she voted to fully fund Bensalem’s schools.
Celeste Dee, a spokesperson for the Hayes campaign, responded saying they would not retract their claims. The full statement is at the bottom of this article.
“Our campaign clearly cites the independent sources that correlate to the statements Ms Tomlinson is claiming are “lies” right on the mailer, so the public can review the facts for themselves. The fact is that she did vote for this budget that leaves a hole in education funding, and the facts are that she voted lock step with her Republican leadership 100% of the time. This same leadership has been very clear on the positions we connect in our statement.”
Tomlinson has also co-sponsored H.B 961, known also as the the Fair Funding Formula Bill. This legislation would increase Bensalem’s funding by more than $7 million, according to estimates.
The study found the pandemic could hit the Bensalem School District with up to $5.8 million in lost tax revenue. H.B. 961 would more than make up for this loss.
The Hayes campaign also claimed Tomlinson called for using Bensalem’s children to “test herd immunity” from COVID-19.
“Reading this made me sick to my stomach, as it could not be further from the truth,” said Tomlinson. “I have never suggested anything like this, nor has anyone associated with my campaign.”
Tomlinson cited her vote to provide $225 million in school safety grants. This includes sanitization and cleaning for schools.
“It is truly disappointing to see these kinds of outright lies being told so early in this campaign, but I cannot say it is surprising,” said Tomlinson. “My opponent has demonstrated that he will say or do just about anything to win this election, regardless of the facts.”
Tomlinson won by more than 10 points in March’s special election to fill a vacancy left by County Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo. The seat will be up for grabs in the November 3 general election.
The full statement from the Hayes campaign:
Our campaign clearly cites the independent sources that correlate to the statements Ms Tomlinson is claiming are “lies” right on the mailer, so the public can review the facts for themselves. The fact is that she did vote for this budget that leaves a hole in education funding, and the facts are that she voted lock step with her Republican leadership 100% of the time. This same leadership has been very clear on the positions we connect in our statement. I do notice in her release, she claims to have voted to 100% fund the Bensalem SD? I question how that is a true statement, considering a State Representative does not vote on, or put up legislation for individual School District budgets. Additionally, I note that Ms Tomlinson does not cite any independent sources to back up her statements that anything we have stated is a lie. Therefore, we have no intention of issuing a retraction.