A Republican candidate against tax cuts would be like President Barack Obama being against hope, right?
But that's the accusation that Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democratic candidate for governor, makes against Republican opponent Bill McCollum, the state's attorney general.
On her Facebook page Feb. 16, 2010, Sink wrote: "Career politician Bill McCollum said tax cuts don't work. That's just plain wrong -- wrong for businesses, our economy, and everyday Floridians."
The charge refers to comments McCollum has made over the years, but the Sink campaign also cited some of McCollum's votes while in Congress from 1981 to 2001.
First, his words.
Sink's Facebook statement refers to a Feb. 15, 2010, article from the News Service of Florida about comments from three candidates for governor -- Sink, McCollum and Republican Paula Dockery -- at a Tallahassee forum sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Business and Florida TaxWatch.
Here is what the article said about McCollum's comments on tax cuts:
While Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Paula Dockery both promoted the idea of offering tax breaks to spur job-creation, Republican Bill McCollum said the approach is not a panacea.
"Targeted tax credits, in my experience in Washington, were minimally effective," said McCollum, a former 10-term Congressman from the Orlando-area. "They can be in the short run, but in the long run they are not effective," he added. "But I think all of us wish there were a simple solution to the re-creation of jobs in Florida."
The article also stated that all three candidates "vowed to steer clear from tax increases" and "supported delaying a sharp increase in the state's unemployment compensation tax that businesses now face paying on April 1."
Sink's campaign also cited a Nov. 5, 2000, South Florida Sun-Sentinel article in which McCollum, then a U.S. Senate candidate, discussed tax cuts.
The article said that McCollum's "stump speeches Saturday repeated his themes of 'better government, not bigger government.' And he continued his attack on [Democrat Bill] Nelson for his support of $500 billion in targeted cuts, rather than the $1.3 trillion in across-the-board cuts favored by Bush.
"'Targeted tax cuts are just a liberal's fancy way of saying they want government to decide who gets the money,' McCollum told a handful of supporters at a Punta Gorda retirement community."
Those passages indicate that McCollum's position on tax cuts has followed party lines; he was opposed to the Democrat's "targeted cuts," but he appears to have supported an across-the-board tax cut favored by Republicans.
To rebut the Sink claim, McCollum's campaign provided us with a few articles quoting him in favor of tax cuts. A Feb. 15, 2010, Newsmax article quotes McCollum saying, "We need to reduce the capital gains tax" and that he wants to reduce the corporate tax rate. In that article, he criticized Obama's proposal for a tax credit for businesses that hire new workers.
"I never thought targeted tax credits were very effective," McCollum said.
In a transcript of a McCollum speech printed in the Florida Times-Union on July 31, 2000, McCollum said that Congress could "not only cut taxes, but restructure the tax code."
To get a more complete picture of McCollum's position, we also looked at his votes on various tax cuts.
His record shows that, contrary to Sink's claim, he voted for tax cuts several times. Even the Florida Democratic Party has noted that; it issued a news release Dec. 29, 2009, stating that McCollum has repeatedly voted in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy.
Sink's campaign provided two examples of when McCollum voted against tax cuts in the 1990s, but they were party-line votes that indicate he was voting with other Republicans in opposition to a Democratic proposal. By contrast, McCollum's campaign cited many other votes that McCollum took in favor of tax cuts, including votes to eliminate the marriage tax penalty and the estate tax.
So based on the news articles and our examination of McCollum's voting record, it's clear that he has often supported tax cuts -- particularly Republican proposals.
So Sink is cherry-picking here. Although McCollum did say he was opposed to "targeted" (read: Democratic) tax cuts, he has spoken and voted in favor of them many other times, particularly the across-the-board proposals favored by Republicans. We find her statement Barely True.
Editor's note: This statement was rated Barely True when it was published. On July 27, 2011, we changed the name for the rating to Mostly False.