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Truth Squad rules "fouls" in ads for Snyder and Schauer

Sep 18, 2014

The Truth Squad at Bridge magazine is handing out "fouls" to Democrats and Republicans. Political groups are airing ads on behalf of the candidates running for governor in Michigan.

First let’s look at an ad put together by the Democratic Governors Association. In it a school teacher, Kim Stanley, ties together three separate issues.

“Gov. Snyder cut a billion dollars from education, but gave his own administration officials huge pay raises. One of them actually makes $330,000 a year. And Rick Snyder’s administration gave millions in state contracts to his own cousin,” Stanley says in the ad.

As the Truth Squad and Michigan Radio have noted in the past, both Democrats and Republicans have wiggle room in how they interpret whether Snyder cut a billion dollars from education. In a very narrow sense, it’s technically correct. The ad does not include the fact that Snyder and the Republican-dominated Legislature have increased school funding since then.

The Truth Squad finds the issues of the pay raises and a furniture contract are fair game in a campaign, but suggesting they somehow led to school funding cuts is ridiculous and misleading.

“Yes, he has given large pay raises to his executive staff, including a $330,000 salary, but even if all the funding for the governor’s staff was eliminated, that would be $5.4 million that the state would save when the public education budget for K-12 in Michigan is nearly $12 billion,” said the editor of the Truth Squad, David Zeman.

The Truth Squad ruling: a foul.

The second ad the Truth Squad looked at comes from the Republican Governors Association. It tries to tie Democratic candidate Mark Schauer to former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and a bipartisan tax hike that was passed to prevent the state government from shutting down.

“The deciding vote for her painful services tax? Mark Schauer. A newspaper called Schauer her “go-to guy” in the Senate. Granholm called Schauer a ‘rock star.’ Rock star? With 300,000 jobs lost and crippling debt?”

David Zeman with the Truth Squad says the ad makes an unnecessary misstatement.

“It goes out of its way to say that Schauer cast the deciding vote when he actually did not cast the deciding vote. It was a 19-19 senate tie and the lieutenant governor cast the deciding vote,” Zeman said.

The service tax was axed before it could hit taxpayers. Gov. Granholm approved a law repealing that tax 17 hours after it went into effect.

Zeman adds suggesting the causes of Michigan’s economic downturn are all because of Granholm and Schauer is suspect on the face of it. It was a national recession and Michigan was hit especially hard by the near collapse of the auto industry.

“To try to fix all the blame on Schauer when he was in a minority within the Senate seems to be a bit of a stretch. But, it really goes off the rails when it says he cast the deciding vote because it’s just a silly misstatement that wasn’t true,” Zeman said.

The Truth Squad wonders why the Republican Governors Association didn’t simply leave it at Schauer “voted for” the tax package. But it didn’t and gets a "foul" for straying from the truth.