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TRUTH TEST: Ad misleads on Amendment 66 spending

5:43 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - With two weeks until early voting, viewers in Colorado are being treated to ads on both sides of an income tax increase to fund public education.

9NEWS will hold those who run political ads on our networks accountable for what they say. Check out previous Truth Tests here:

http://www.9news.com/news/politics_govt/truth_tests/default.aspx

Technically, this is an issue ad rather than a "no on 66" ad, but with a tagline "raise expectations, not taxes," the goal is to steer you against Amendment 66.

It comes from the Independence Institute, a libertarian-minded activist group.

In our last Truth Test, we debunked a claim that Amendment 66 keeps money out of administration:

http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=358806

This ad also goes too far - in the other direction.

CLAIM: "Most of these tax increases go to administration and pensions, not the classroom."

VERDICT: MISLEADING

If the ad said "some" of the tax increases go to administration and pension costs, that would be true.

The law leaves a lot of room for districts and schools to decide how to spend the money, and the intent of the ballot question is to put most of the money in classrooms.

Nothing in the law steers more money to administration than classroom programs.

On pensions, Amendment 66 requires money to go to actual education programs and their workers.

The money can't legally go directly toward propping up the pension fund.

New teachers and workers will be hired and get benefits, including a pension program.

So yes, some of this money is going to pensions, but we're talking about a fraction of what it costs to pay these people.
CLAIM: "It's not our teachers' fault. The problem is a broken system run by government, unions, and monopolies."

VERDICT: OPINION

Supporters of Amendment 66 say they are reforming the system through changes like giving principals more direct control over money, boosting all day kindergarten, and providing an audit and public website to track the spending.

The people behind this ad would argue that those aren't strong enough changes to justify raising income taxes nearly a billion dollars a year.

You'll have to decide how you feel about that.

BOTTOM LINE

Education comes with a certain amount of administrative cost.

One side wants you to believe that's where most of the money from amendment 66 goes.

The other side wants you to believe virtually none of it goes there.

And both of those portrayals aren't very truthful.


(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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