Whitman fires back at Brown with new ad

July 16, 2010 7:22:40 PM PDT
Jerry Brown's supporters are on the air with a new attack ad, while Meg Whitman's campaign is firing back with one of its own. But are the claims each is making about the other accurate?

A coalition of labor unions called California Working Families for Jerry Brown put out an attack portraying Whitman as out of touch, and she responded with an ad blaming Brown for the state's pension crisis.

The ad says: "Meg Whitman says she'll run California like her company. But is that what we need? As CEO, Whitman hid her profits offshore to avoid paying taxes. She ranked second among CEOs for personal use of corporate jets. That's Whitman's world."

FACT CHECK: The corporate jet claim is true.

In 2006, eBay paid a $1 million for Whitman's personal air travel. But the charge that she hid her profits off-shore to avoid paying taxes is false.

Whitman didn't hide her investments, they're a matter of public record. She did invest in companies in the Cayman Islands, a well known tax haven. But legally avoiding taxes is something people do all the time -- look at all the people who take a home mortgage deduction.

The ad continues: "And her plan for California? Tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, but nothing for the middle class. And our schools? They can do more with less. Tell Whitman, in the world we live in, her plan won't fly."

FACT CHECK: The tax claims are misleading.

It is true Whitman's proposal to repeal the state's capital gains tax will disproportionately benefit the wealthy. It's not true that she's proposing nothing for the middle class.

She has proposed a $10,000 tax credit for homebuyers, which would benefit all homeowners including those in the middle class.

And the criticism that Whitman is telling schools to do more with less is also inaccurate. What Whitman asked was if the entire state was run more efficiently, couldn't we do more with less? She was referring to all 350,000 state employees, not just teachers.

Whitman's new ad is a direct response: "Meg Whitman says she'll run California like her company. Seen this attack on Meg Whitman? Who are these people? They are the unions and special interests behind Jerry Brown."

FACT CHECK: That's true.

Unions are backing Jerry Brown and a coalition of unions paid for ad attacking Whitman. But then the Whitman ad goes too far.

The Whitman ad says: "They want Jerry Brown because he won't rock the boat in Sacramento. He'll be the same as he ever was -- high taxes, lost jobs and big pensions for state employees. The special interests have chosen their governor. How about you?"

FACT CHECK: That's false.

The ad suggests the unions are backing Brown because he provided generous benefits when he was governor in the late 70s and early 80s.

But the state's pension system $500 billion deficit stems from numerous actions that occurred long after Brown left the governor's office.

ABC7's partners at FactCheck.org have a lot more detail on this FactCheck.


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