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By Jodie Tillman August 13, 2010

Kathryn Starkey missed just over half the meetings

A new political mailer from the Committee to Protect Florida attacks State House District 45 candidate Kathryn Starkey of New Port Richey for her record on taxes, citing her role on a water district board and her support of the Penny for Pasco, a 2004 increase in the county sales tax.

The committee is headed up by Rockie Pennington, a political consultant for Richard Corcoran, one of Starkey’s two opponents in the Aug. 24 Republican primary. (Fabian Calvo is also on the ballot.)

"Taxin’ Kathryn," says the mailer sent in early August 2010. "With Kathryn Starkey’s record on taxes here at home, how can we trust her -- or afford her -- in Tallahassee?"

We wondered, can you trust the mailer’s claims? We looked at three claims, and this Truth-O-Meter item tackles her attendance at meetings. Other items are here on her voting record for river board tax rates, and here on her actions involving the Pasco sales tax.

We looked at the claim that "As a member of the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board, Kathryn Starkey had the opportunity to fight for lower taxes in 14 separate budget meetings between 2002 and 2008. But ... She only attended half of those meetings!"

Pennington said he based that claim on minutes from the basin board’s meetings. We took a look, too.

We looked at two budget meetings each year: June, when the basin board typically sets its preliminary tax rate, and August, when it takes a final vote. (In 2007, the final vote was taken in July.)

Starkey served on the board from June 2002 through April 2008, so we looked only at the 12 budget-related meetings that fell within that period. (Pennington, who put together his mailer a month ago, said he wasn’t sure why we came up with different counts for the meetings.)

Of 12 budget meetings she could have attended, Starkey attended seven (five of those seven were the final votes). That attendance record is more than half — by a hair.

We rate this claim Mostly True.

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Our Sources

Minutes of August 14, 2002, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of June 11, 2003, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of August 13, 2003, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of June 16, 2004, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of August 11, 2004, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of June 1, 2005, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of August 3, 2005, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of June 7, 2006, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of August 16, 2006, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of June 6, 2007, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Minutes of July 25, 2007, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board meeting

Kathryn Starkey missed just over half the meetings

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