Last week, when Democrat Jerry Brown demanded that Meg Whitman, his Republican opponent in the California governor’s race, pull an ad that was based on a lie about his tax record, her campaign spokesman scoffed at the idea, saying, “That’s ridiculous.”
His reaction is telling in light of the fact that a representative from the California Department of Finance had confirmed to reporters that, based on nonpartisan analysis, the Whitman was indeed a lie:
“Taxes went down, by this yardstick, yes,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the department, who added that the figures are the result of an impartial, nonpartisan analysis of the data. “The data you have in front of you does not have an R suffix or a D suffix after them. The Department of Finance calculated these numbers in a consistent manner over Republican and Democratic administrations.”
…Brown took office in January 1975, midway through the 1974-75 fiscal year. The first budget under his command covered the 1975-76 fiscal year. The CNN report appeared to use the 1973-74 year at its baseline.
According to Department of Finance data available in 1992, total state taxes when Brown took office were $7.03 per every $100 in income. He left office in January 1983, so his last budget covered the 1982-83 fiscal year. Taxes then were $6.83 per every $100 in income.
Nonetheless, in true Republican fashion, facts be damned, the Whitman campaign is continuing to run the ad across the state, ad naseum.
Meg Whitman’s gubernatorial campaign has issued a threat to television stations across the state, demanding a new ad from the California Teachers Assn. be removed. Whitman’s campaign claims the ad, unveiled Friday, may contain “slanderous or libelous statements” about the candidate.
An attorney for Whitman’s campaign threatened stations with legal action Friday. “The spot is a lie,” wrote Thomas W. Hiltachk. “As you know, your station can be held libel for slanderous or libelous statements made by a non-candidate sponsor of political advertising.”
Some stations have pulled the ad. Others told PolitCal they are still evaluating the claims made by Whitman’s attorneys and will run the ad in the meantime.
The ad makes this claim:
“Whitman says we should cut another $7 billion from our schools. Teacher layoffs, 100K more. 33 percent larger class sizes and even more cuts to arts and music programs that deny our kids a well-rounded education,” the ad states. “Tell Meg Whitman that cutting Education to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy is wrong for our schools and California’s future.”
The union responds:
CTA spokeswoman Sandra Jackson said the union extrapolated the $7 billion education cut from Whitman’s own plan, which, according to Jackson, includes state budget cuts of $15 billion. In her policy pamphlet, Whitman does point to “the budget, where $15 billion of spending reductions can ultimately be realized,” but those plans do not include any cuts to education. Whitman claims reducing the state workforce by 40,000, “harnessing the power of modern technology” and a reducing the number of state lawyers will help the state eliminate $15 billion in spending.
Hypocrisy much, Meg? If you say that Brown raised taxes when, in fact, taxes went down when he was governor, then you have no standing to issue angrry threats and toss around your ability to hire high-priced lawyers when you don’t like an ad that offers an interpretation of your own data that you don’t like.