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Truth Squad calls foul on Snyder statement, warns Schauer

Bridge Magazine’s Truth Squad is reviewing the ads and claims in the race for governor between incumbent Rick Snyder and challenger Mark Schauer.

Democrat Mark Schauer is airing his first campaign TV ad and the Truth Squad has a couple of issues with it. First, there’s this statement:

“Rick Snyder’s economy might work for the wealthy, but it’s not working for the rest of Michigan.”

Now, that’s pretty standard political positioning, but Ron French with the Truth Squad says it’s unlikely, if not impossible, that only the wealthy are benefiting from the improvements in the Michigan economy since Rick Snyder took office.

“For one example, the unemployment rate has dropped from 11 percent to 7.5 percent. The Truth Squad questions whether it’s only the wealthy who have gotten jobs during that time,” French said.

And then there’s another statement Schauer  has been hammering from the beginning of his campaign. He says he’ll

“...reverse Governor Snyder’s education cuts…”

Both sides have some standing on claims on whether education funding for schools is up or down. It all depends on how you want to look at the numbers. But in this case, Ron French says Schauer is treading on thin ice.

“Truth Squad finds that it’s true that Snyder did cut education funding in the first year of office. Since then, education funding has gone up.”

Final judgment: The Schauer campaign gets a “warning.”

The Truth Squad also reviewed a speech Rick Snyder gaveat a senior citizens center.  In June, the Republican governor gave what was billed as a special message on aging.

He brought up the fact that some senior citizens are now paying income tax on pensions. Ron French says that personal income tax expansion helped offset a $1.5 billion business tax cut.

Governor Rick Snyder told senior citizens that taxing pensions does not constitute a pension tax.

“The biggest share of that came from changing policies so that public and private pension income was taxed in the state,” French said.

But Gov. Snyder says calling it a new pension tax is a mischaracterization.

“…it’s not a pension tax. What we did was clean up our tax code. We eliminated exemptions, exclusions, ways people weren’t paying tax.”

The governor says he just removed a tax exemption for pensions. Ron French with the Truth Squad says as a former accountant and lawyer, that might make sense to Gov. Snyder.

“I’m sure an accountant would appreciate the logic of it, but for you and me, I think this kind of violates common sense,” French said.

If first you don’t have a tax on pensions and then you do have a tax on pensions, most people would see that as a pension tax. The Truth Squad thinks Rick Snyder is playing word games and judged that statement a “foul.”

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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