White, Perry ads put to the truth test
HOUSTON Political ads are back and like a bad cold, you likely won't be able to get rid of the ads for weeks. So to keep you healthy as a voter, let's dust off the truth meter and make sure the ads are honest. For awhile, Bill White has been absent on Houston television screens. His campaign has been spending money elsewhere in the state to build his name ID statewide. If you don't know who Bill White is after six years as Houston mayor, it's likely a 30-second ad won't help you. His ads are largely positive these days, promoting his experience as mayor, business leader and oddly enough a friend of Republicans. "I would be proud to tell my fellow Republicans in the state of Texas to take a real good look at Bill White," business owner Steve Scully says in one ad. Voting records do show Scully has voted Republican in the past, but show he didn't vote for anyone in 2007 when Bill White was most recently running for re-election as Houston mayor. Switching gears, the ad we really need to put through the truth meter is the ad that says, "Perry would cut funding for nursing homes, pre-kindergarten, higher education." Those are all true Rick Perry proposals. But this ad attacking Perry isn't from Bill White. It's from Back to Basics, a Democratic-leaning group funded largely by a Houston trial lawyer. The ad goes on to say, "Here's what he (Perry) won't cut. His $10,000-a-month, state-funded mansion in the hills." It criticizes the governor for living in a state-rented mansion outside Austin. "He'll cut the budget for kids, but not his wine list," the ad says. The state of Texas has provided public housing for the governor for a long, long time. The state-owned mansion is under renovation after a disastrous fire. You can decide if that rental is extravagant or not. As for Perry, one of his ads says, "We created more than 850,000 jobs, more than all the other states combined." In his most recent ad, Perry touts true job creation numbers, but doesn't point out Texas' unemployment has risen the last two months in a row. The Perry ad goes on to say, "And set aside $8 billion for a rainy day." That is true. Texas does have an $8 billion Rainy Day Fund and if the legislature votes to spend it next year, it could help ease Texas' budget crunch, but not get rid of it because the state ofTexas faces an estimated $10 to $21 billion shortfall next year. So all the saving the state has done may not help get rid of it. You can see more from the Perry and White campaigns here in our 2 Minute Drill, where we pose certain questions to the candidates.