Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Fact Meter: RGA Ad Jumbles Davis Record on Taxes

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Fact Meter: RGA Ad Jumbles Davis Record on Taxes

Article excerpt

The Republican Governor's Association is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into advertising on behalf of Gov. Sam Brownback that strives to define how voters should view Democratic candidate Paul Davis.

In the latest 30-second incarnation of this strategy, the RGA portrayed Davis as a politician devoted to "tax and spend" ideas of President Barack Obama.

The Kansas Fact Meter's rating of the ad: Partially true.

The RGA doesn't identify specific tax votes in the ad, but supplemental documentation from the association accurately chronicled a series of votes by Davis in the Kansas House. The ad falls short because conclusions are based on cherry-picked snapshots that don't fully explain his record. At the same time, the commercial fails to point out actions by Davis that correlate to those of Brownback.

Documents from the GOP association -- its chairman, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, endorsed Brownback last week -- purport to demonstrate how Davis "spent 12 years voting against Kansas taxpayers."

The record shows Davis backed legislation to lower as well as raise taxes in the state.

The RGA argues, in part, the perspective of Davis as a free- wheeling tax-and-spender was enhanced by his vote in 2010 for the $8.2 billion, 10-year transportation program. The association viewed the bill as reckless budgeting because it authorized $1.7 billion in borrowing to pay for T-Works projects.

Since taking office in 2011, Brownback praised infrastructure upgrades as pivotal to the state's economic competitiveness. His administration embraced bonding to finance the highway program. In the current campaign for governor, Brownback called for continuation of T-Works.

Mike King, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, said Thursday construction work "will create jobs for hundreds of workers, who will spend their paychecks in communities all over the state, spreading the benefits far beyond the construction industry."

The RGA ad went on to declare: "Sales taxes. Davis voted to raise them."

Documentation supplied by the association noted a 2004 vote by Davis to raise the statewide sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent. Materials also addressed Davis' vote in 2010 for a three- year, 1-cent increase in the sales tax. That placed Kansas' rate at 6.3 percent.

In 2011, Davis opposed an effort to repeal this elevated state sales tax.

Brownback harshly condemned the tax hike, but didn't lobby for repeal. The governor and his allies, in the 2012 Republican primary, targeted for defeat GOP senators who voted for the heightened sales tax.

He followed in 2013 by urging legislators to make permanent the 6.3 percent rate. In a compromise negotiated among Republicans, Brownback signed a bill setting the rate at 6. …

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