Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Smokin’ Texas claims by Ron Paul, pro-Bachmann group

The pro-Michele Bachmann Keep Conservatives United posted this ad online around Sept. 1, 2011.

In the sprawling fray for the Republican presidential nomination, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and a group that supports the candidacy of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann separately aired substantially flawed claims about Texas taxes and spending.

Both set the Truth-O-Meter ablaze.

In an advertisement, the narrator of an ad from Keep Conservatives United, the pro-Bachmann group, says: "This year, (Texas Gov.) Rick Perry is spending more money than the state takes in, covering his deficits with record borrowing."

We found that while Texas state government undertook record short-term borrowing this year, the state is not in the red by any stretch of that characterization. The two-year budget adopted by lawmakers and signed into law by Perry this year was required to balance--and there’s no indication that it no longer does. The ad’s statement--casting the sale of short-term notes as covering Perry’s deficits--ridiculously misrepresents a routine annual sale. Pants on Fire!

In the Sept. 12, 2011, GOP presidential debate, Paul was asked if he credits Perry for job gains in their home state.

"Not quite," Paul replied.

"I'm a taxpayer there," Paul continued. "My taxes have gone up. Our taxes have doubled since he's been in office."

Paul’s campaign offered no direct backup to his tax claim, though spokesman Gary Howard pointed out news and opinion articles on Perry’s 1987 vote as a Texas House member for the biggest tax increase in state history and on 2006 legislation Perry signed into law that increased cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, overhauled the state’s business franchise tax and changed how the state taxes the sale of used cars, all toward covering the costs of a statewide one-third cut in local school property taxes.

Later, Paul’s campaign told us he’d been referring at the debate to a doubling in his own franchise taxes. We requested, but did not field, elaboration.

Best we could tell, though, the most that Texas taxes might have increased while Perry was governor is 44 percent, which shakes out to 17 percent when inflation is weighed.

Paul’s "doubling" claim is so far off base, it’s ridiculous. Pants on Fire!