Terry Branstad’s Latest Misleading Ads – Debunked
Posted on Thursday, October 28 at 4:27pm
DES MOINES – Terry Branstad’s campaign this week released new ads this week full of false claims and baseless attacks.
"This is just more dishonesty from a campaign that is desperate to stop their falling poll numbers," said Donn Stanley, Culver Campaign Manager. "Iowans are tired of Terry Branstad's dishonesty. They want a leader with vision, and the good news is they already have one in Governor Chet Culver."
Below are fact-checks on two of Branstad’s latest dishonest ads. “Let’s See” – The Facts Claim: “Under Governor Branstad, Iowa had a $900 million surplus, and good teachers were paid more without raising taxes.”
FACTS: Branstad ran illegal deficits for twelve years [Des Moines Register, 5/5/1994 and Des Moines Register, 4/17/1994]
Under Branstad, teacher pay fell from 26th to 35th in the nation.
1982: Iowa ranked 26th in average teacher salary - $1,004 below the national average. [National Center for Education Statistics - National Education Association, Estimates of School Statistics]
1999: Iowa Ranked 35th in Average Teacher Salary - $5,666 Below National Average. [Digest of Education Statistics – 2000, National Center for Education Statistics] Claim: “Under Governor Culver, a huge budget gap led to teacher layoffs and property tax hikes.”
FACTS: Governor Culver has closed all budget gaps on every budget he's taken action on. Projected budget gaps before budgets are put together are routine now and were routine under Governors Branstad and Vilsack. They are basically a measure of the state's revenue against certain assumptions about growth. The difference is that Terry Branstad had gaps AFTER he signed budgets into law – those are illegal deficits.
Layoffs have been limited because Chet Culver worked with the Legislature and the federal government to provide additional funds; more funds are now being spent on K-12 education than before October 2009.
Initial projections of layoffs were wildly incorrect. For instance, Johnston did not lay off any teachers for this school year, and Waukee hired 35 teachers [Des Moines Register, 8/29/2010]. In the end, the Des Moines School District laid off only 18 teachers, contrary to earlier predictions. With recently received additional federal funds, the Des Moines School District may actually add teachers [Des Moines Register, 8/18/2010]. Hypocritically, Branstad actually wants to cut state government by 15 percent, which would lead to devastating cuts in education funding.
State actions did not force any jurisdiction to raise property taxes. In fact, 31 counties and 90 school districts cut property taxes this year. [Des Moines Register, 9/19/2010]. Property taxes are determined by a variety of factors and are mainly decisions made at the local level. Claim: Governor Branstad created nearly 300,000 jobs. Today, 113,000 Iowans are out of work.
FACTS: An average of 21,125 more Iowans were unemployed during Terry Branstad’s first term than under Governor Culver. In 1982, Branstad promised 180,000 jobs, but delivered just over half. In 1994, Branstad promised 300,000, but delivered only 64,000. “Iowa Can't Afford Chet Culver” – The Facts
Under Governor Culver: Claim: Highest unemployment in 24 years and 113,300 Iowans out of work
FACTS: True, the current unemployment rate is the highest since 1986 – when Terry Branstad was in office. Also, an average of 21,125 more Iowans were unemployed during Terry Branstad’s first term than under Governor Culver. [Iowa Workforce Development] Claim: $500 million property tax increase
FACTS: Misleading. Property taxes are driven by a variety of factors such as local decisions, home values, agricultural productivity and state actions. 31 counties and 90 school districts cut property taxes in the last year. [Des Moines Register, 9/19/2010] Claim: $1.7 billion in new state debt and no new jobs
FACTS: False. I-JOBS costs $1.2 billion and is paid for with gambling revenues, not tax dollars. [Iowa Department of Management, http://www.dom.state.ia.us/state/ijobs/files/Total%20Revenue%20Required%20to%20Pay%20Principal%20and%20Interst%20on%20IJOBS%20Bonds-1.pdf
According the most recent report, 7,502 people were working on I-JOBS projects in July. [Iowa Department of Management Report on I-JOBS, 9/28/2010] Claim: Culver budget cuts force teacher layoffs
FACTS: Layoffs have been limited because Chet Culver worked with the Legislature and the federal government to provide additional funds; more funds are now being spent on K-12 education than before October 2009.
Hypocritically, Branstad actually wants to cut state government by 15 percent, which would lead to devastating cuts in education funding. Claim: $10 million in flood aid misspent
FACTS: Misleading. Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Todd Dorman characterized this claim in the following way: “The ad [a similar ad making this claim] also cites $10 million in flood aid ‘misspent,’… which may, in the end, be a misunderstanding over rules and documentation used in giving aid to flooded business owners. Perhaps Branstad will spearhead the effort to force 300 local businesses to return the money. Perhaps not.” [24 Hour Dorman, 5/18/10] Claim: Criminal charges in Culver’s film office scandal.
FACTS: Governor Culver took decisive action to shut down the Film Office and hold accountable those responsible. Claim: Special prosecutor indicts Culver campaign contributors
FACTS: That same Special Prosecutor cleared Governor Culver: “Culver cleared in case involving donations from gambling interests” [Mason City Globe Gazette Headline, 10/11/2010] Claim: Scandals, Reckless Spending, Property Tax Hikes, No Jobs, Iowa Can’t Afford Chet Culver.
FACTS: Terry Branstad is describing the wrong Governor. Branstad doubled the size of the state budget [Iowa Legislative Fiscal Bureau/Legislative Services Agency Fiscal Reports (Graybooks) 1982 and 1998], signed 15 provisions allowing for increased property taxes [Graybooks 1983-1998] and had 20 scandals in 12 state government agencies [Available here
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