FACT CHECK: Ad attacking Paul Davis' voting record on taxes mostly true

WICHITA, KAN. --- A GOP group spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on political ads in Kansas, has released its second ad this month targeting Democrat gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis.

Davis is challenging Republican Governor Sam Brownback in his run for a second 4-year-term as Kansas' Governor.

This 30-second spot from the Republican Governor's Association focuses on Paul Davis' record on taxes, saying the House Minority Leader "spent 12 years voting against Kansas taxpayers."

The ad begins: "Just like Obama, Paul Davis likes to tax and spend."

This is misleading.

First of all, this statement is an opinion.

Secondly, the Republicans Governor's Association uses House Bill 2650 in 2010 as an example to support this opinion. This bill had the state take out $1.7 billion in bonds to fix state highways. What it doesn't point out, for that bill to be passed and signed by the Governor, Republicans, who were the majority in the House and Senate at that time, had to approve the measure.

The ad goes on: "Sales taxes. Davis voted to raise them."

This is true. But needs clarification.

The Republican Governor's Association uses the example when the state raised the sales tax from 5% to 5.3% in 2004. Again, Republicans were in control of the House and Senate when this measure passed.

RGA also uses an example of a measure that would provide credits for property taxes paid on certain railroad machinery and equipment, House Bill 2005. Davis did vote against this one. It still passed.

Then the ad says: "Construction equipment. Davis voted to tax that too."

This is true. But needs clarification.

RGA uses the example of a bill that amended property tax laws to ensure construction machinery was classified as a tangible personal property. Davis voted for the bill. It passed, once again with Republican support.

The ad continues: "Income taxes. Davis voted against relief."

This is true. But needs clarification.

RGA uses the example in 2006, when Davis voted against allowing Kansans to deduct the amount of federal taxes they pay from their state tax returns, worth $600 million in income tax relief over five years. The bill didn't pass. For it not to pass, Republicans also had to vote against it.

The ad says: "Fees on farm trucks. Davis voted to increase them."

This is true. But needs clarification.

RGA uses the example in 2010, when Davis voted for House Bill 2650, which increased registration fees for farm trucks. It was part of that transportation bill previously mentioned that would fix the state highways. It passed with Republican support.

The ad ends with: "And property tax relief. Davis voted to oppose it."

This is true.

RGA uses the example in 2014, when Davis voted against a bill that included $84 million in property tax relief. It passed.

Overall, this ad is mostly true. However, unlike most political ads, it doesn't cite any articles, bills or sources to verify its claims. KAKEnews asked the Republican Governor's Association to provide specific examples that could be fact-checked. The full document RGA sent to KAKE News can be viewed by clicking here.

In response to the ad, the Davis campaign released this statement:

"Kansans are deeply concerned with Sam Brownback's “experiment” and the damage it is doing to our schools, communities and economy. The Republican Governors Association clearly recognizes how out of step and unpopular Sam Brownback's priorities are. Polls show Sam Brownback is now as unpopular as President Obama in Kansas."

"Paul Davis is focused on Kansas and has a 12-year record of bringing people together to support our schools, create jobs and find commonsense solutions. His vision is shared by Kansans in every corner of the state, including the more than 100 current and former Republican elected officials who have endorsed him over Sam Brownback."


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