Crossroads GPS: “Fit For A King”

Crossroads GPS claims that Maine Senate candidate Angus King “managed to turn a $60 million budget surplus into a nearly $1 billion shortfall,” citing an op-ed by a former state budget official who calls that exact claim “a lie.” The headline of the piece the group cites as evidence is “Former State Budget Officer Explains, Defends King’s Fiscal Record.” As a bonus, the ad’s wording papers over the fact that King came into office facing a $150-300M budget shortfall and depleted rainy-day fund, and reversed both situations prior to the economic trauma of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

To Support Spending Attack On King, Crossroads GPS Cites State Budget Officer’s Explanation Of Why The Attack Is “A Lie”

Crossroads GPS Cites Portland Press Herald To Support Claim King Left “Nearly $1 Billion Shortfall.” From the Crossroads GPS ad:


[Crossroads GPS via YouTube, 10/16/12]

August’s editions of the Press Herald are not yet archived in Lexis Nexis, but the Nicholas op-ed is the only search result for the words “budget” and “King” for August 9, 2012, on the Press Herald‘s website.

Portland Press Herald Mention Of King And Deficits From 8/9/12 Says Of Claim, “Such Assertions Should Not Become The Accepted Belief” But “A Lie Told Often Enough Become The Truth.” From the op-ed by former Maine budget officer Jack Nicholas: “It’s been said that ‘a lie told often enough becomes the truth.’ That explains why some opponents of former Gov. Angus King claim he inherited a budget surplus and left a $1.2 billion deficit and an empty rainy day fund. Such assertions should not become the accepted belief.”


[Nicholas Op-Ed, Portland Press Herald, 8/9/12]

Op-Ed Cited By GPS: King Took Office Facing Shortfall Between $150 And $300 Million And Nearly-Depleted Rainy-Day Fund. From the Nicholas op-ed cited by Crossroads GPS: “When King took office in January 1995, he faced a projected ‘General Fund structural budget gap’ of between $150 million and $300 million for the fiscal year 1996-97 biennium. Maine was still reeling from a real estate market collapse. Our traditional manufacturing industries were in steep decline, and there was only $6.4 million in the rainy day fund.” [Nicholas Op-Ed, Portland Press Herald, 8/9/12]

Op-Ed Cited By GPS: King Proceeded To Balance Budget “Without Gimmicks” And Raise Rainy-Day Fund “To An All-Time High.” From the Nicholas op-ed cited by Crossroads GPS: “King immediately began rehabilitating Maine’s economy. Fiber optic cables connected Maine on a global scale. The state’s transportation infrastructure was upgraded, facilitating the flow of commerce and people as never before. Critical investments were made in neglected public infrastructure, from schools and R&D to low-income housing and wastewater treatment facilities, improving quality of life and job opportunities statewide. Tax cuts were implemented, and the budget was balanced without gimmicks. The rainy day fund was increased to an all-time high of $143.7 million. All of these positive events were recognized by the three credit rating agencies. While Standard & Poor’s maintained its already solid AA+ rating, both Fitch and Moody’s increased Maine’s ratings to AA+, marking the state’s first credit rating upgrade in many years.” [Nicholas Op-Ed, Portland Press Herald, 8/9/12]

Op-Ed Cited By GPS: “Quality Of Life Improved Significantly During The King Years,” And September 11th Attacks Collapsed “Economy Of Every State, Including Maine.” From the Nicholas op-ed cited by Crossroads GPS: “Quality of life improved significantly during the King years. Maine was rated the best state in which to raise a child, the K-12 education system was ranked first nationally, environmental stewardship reached a high-water mark, prescription drug prices were slashed and the state led the nation in providing laptop computers to all seventh- and eighth-grade students, heralding a new era of using technology to achieve student success. King was entering the homestretch of his second term. Maine’s economy was firing on all cylinders. Then the unthinkable happened. On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists brought the World Trade Center crashing down, dashing America’s hopes and dreams. New York’s twin towers became a metaphorical financial bar graph. When they collapsed, so did the economy of every state, including Maine. The reverberations rocked the financial world and caused the stock market to tank, taking a major source of Maine’s income, capital gains.” [Nicholas Op-Ed, Portland Press Herald, 8/9/12]

Op-Ed Cited By GPS: Despite Downturn, King Left Rainy-Day Fund Nearly Five Times Stronger Than He Found It. From the Nicholas op-ed cited by Crossroads GPS: “Thanks to King’s foresight in growing the rainy day fund, Maine was able to weather the resulting economic downturn by using those reserves to keep the state functioning. Despite using nearly $115 million from the fund, he still left $29.4 million, nearly five times the amount he inherited.” [Nicholas Op-Ed, Portland Press Herald, 8/9/12]

Tax Burden Declined By Hundreds Of Millions Under King’s Administration

Portland Press Herald “Truth Test”: King Lowered Taxes. From the Portland Press Herald‘s fact check of an Angus King ad claiming he lowered taxes: “There’s no politician who hasn’t boasted of lowering one tax or another, so we’re going to hold King to a large burden of proof — not just a few decreases, but Maine’s tax burden over his tenure as governor, by two separate measures. First, a Maine Revenue Services document detailing the net estimated effect of “significant” King-era tax increases and decreases and their impact in fiscal year 2003. The sheet says nearly $429 million was saved in taxes because of changes enacted between 1995 and 2003. […] Second, we’ll look at another Maine Revenue Services measure of taxation — a 2011 incidence study that measured Maine’s effective state and local tax rate back to 1996. It said that in 1996, King’s second full year in office, Mainers paid just over 11.8 percent of income, including capital gains, in state and local taxes. In 2002, King’s last full year in office, that rate had dropped to under 11.5 percent. […] Verdict: All evidence collected points to a large impact on Mainers’ wallets from changes enacted during the King administration. With a net and percentage-wide decrease, we’ve got no problem with the claim. We rate this statement true.” [Portland Press Herald, 9/10/12, emphasis original]

Schools Cuts Amounted To 1.37 Percent Of What State Planned To Spend On Schools, And Were Issued In Face Of $180 Million Budget Shortfall

King’s $10M Cut From State Aid To Schools Was Less Than 2 Percent Of What State Was Supposed To Send To Schools In Fiscal Year 2003. From the AP article cited by Crossroads GPS: “King said last month that he was prepared to unilaterally reduce school aid by $10 million for fiscal 2003, which began July 1. State aid to local school units was $622 million in fiscal 2000 and $664.1 million in fiscal 2001. It grew by 6.7 percent to $708.7 million for fiscal 2002, according to legislative analysts, and was scheduled to increase by 3.1 percent to $730.8 million for fiscal 2003.” $10 million out of $730.8 million is approximately 1.37 percent.” [Associated Press via Nexis, 7/3/02]

At The Time, Maine Faced Projected Budget Shortfall Of $180 Million. From the Associated Press: “Early effects of Maine’s revenue shortfall will be visible when most state government offices remain closed on Friday, the day after Fourth of July. Gov. Angus King is furloughing thousands of workers without pay for the day. The shutdown is part of King’s package of unilateral steps aimed at reducing a shortfall originally pegged at $180 million through June 2003.” [Associated Press via Nexis, 7/3/02]

[NARRATOR:] Angus King, or King Angus? He certainly seems to have let down his subjects, the people of Maine. King supported big tax increases that would’ve hurt small businesses. Worse, as governor, King slashed funding for our schools. And King increased spending by 51 percent. King managed to turn a $60 million budget surplus into a nearly $1 billion shortfall. With this record, Maine can’t afford Angus King in the Senate. Crossroads GPS is responsible for the content of this advertising. [Crossroads GPS via YouTube, 10/16/12]