Truth Test: 23rd Congressional District

This week, our Truth Test takes a break from studying the Presidential attack ads. We focus on a local race: US Representative, District 23. Below are two ads and the facts we found that go along with them.

First, let’s take a look at an ad by the Republican, Lyle Larson:

Voice Over: The great State of Texas was built on cattle and oil which have fueled the American way of life.

But record energy prices are hurting families and endangering lives.

So why did Ciro Rodriguez vote against offshore drilling four times?

Are we surprised our gas prices have doubled during his term?

Lack of leadership and down right un-Texan.

Lyle Larson has a smart energy plan with more offshore drilling and renewable energy.

Lyle Larson: I’m Lyle Larson and I approve this message.

I did some checking into Rodriguez’s votes related to offshore drilling. Here’s what I found:

HR 6899 – Yes

HR 6 – Yes

HR 6251 – No

HR 6515 – No

HR 6899 – Yes

HR 2776 – No

HR 5351 – No

Does that mean Democrat Ciro Rodriguez is following suit with his peers who are now willing to support drilling for oil? It would seem so. But, apparently, those folks in Washington are finally realizing Americans cannot afford to put gas in their cars and Congress cannot afford to wait to act now.

Now, let’s take a look at an ad put out by Rodriguez.

Voice Over: Lyle Larson thinks you’re not paying enough for gas.

Woman: Por serio?

Man: Come on!

Voice Over: Lyle Larson proposed a new national 23% sales tax on everything you buy.

Woman: Even gas?

Voice Over: That’s right – even gas.

Lyle Larson – a new gas tax we can’t afford.

Ciro Rodriguez is fighting for a comprehensive energy plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to expand natural gas and oil drilling and invest in alternative energy here.

Ciro Rodriguez: I’m Ciro Rodriguez and I approve of this message.

The biggie in this ad (and one other put out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) is that 23% tax rate. It comes from the Americans for Fair Taxation. The plan is based on a sliding scale. Here’s their graph:

Now, I’m not an expert on taxes, so I’ll let them explain it this way:

Because the 23-percent FairTax rate of $0.23 on every dollar spent is not imposed on necessities, an individual spending $30,000 pays an effective tax rate of only 15.5 percent, not 23 percent. That same individual will pay 17.3 percent of his or her income to federal taxes under current law.

You should know that, as far as I can see, gasoline is not considered a necessity. Strange, since most of us rely on it to get us to work, school and to buy those items deemed necessities. This tax plan is not just endorsed by Larson – there are plenty of other politicians who think it’s a fine idea.

The verdict on both ads: True.

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One Comment on “Truth Test: 23rd Congressional District”

  1. Dave B Says:

    First of all, I’m a Democrat. I don’t happen to live in Ciro Rodriguez’ district. If I did, I’d be holding my nose before voting for him, or may have been move to vote for Larson just because of the negative, un-true (at least in appearance, if not in fact) advertising.

    A check of the website given above states:

    Exactly what taxes are abolished?
    The FairTax is replacement, not reform. It replaces federal income taxes including personal, estate, gift, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes.

    So the proposed “sales tax” is a replacement of federal income taxes, and more. However, Ciro and his scruffy little lady make it appear as an additional tax. It’s just not true. And again, this comment comes from a proud liberal Democrat, – who is sick of Ciro’s negative, false campaign.


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