Tonight’s Debate: Will Saxton Turn Over a New Leaf or Keep Misleading Voters?

For Immediate Release

Contact: Anna Richter Taylor, 503-546-0416

Tonight’s Debate: Will Saxton Turn Over a New Leaf or Keep Misleading Voters?

Medford, OR – After spending millions on negative attack ads, Republican Ron Saxton is now decrying "cheap shots" and "mudslinging." But when he appears in the final general election debate tonight, will Saxton continue his pattern of false and deceptive statements to Oregon voters?

"Governor Kulongoski will continue offering voters direct answers and a clear vision for Oregon this evening," said Kulongoski campaign manager Jim Ross. "But this will be Ron Saxton’s last chance to come clean and stop his pattern of false and misleading statements."

Saxton’s False & Misleading Attacks

Campaign Conduct:

Accuracy of His Ads. Saxton stated during the City Club debate, "The ads I’ve run are factual. … I stand behind the ads." Yet the ads have been roundly criticized as false and misleading. As KATU reported, Saxton’s claim that illegal immigrants are voting in Oregon is unsupported by the facts. An Oregonian ad watch noted that a Saxton education ad “toys with facts” and uses quotes out of context. Little surprise that the Medford Mail-Tribune wrote that Saxton has, “chosen to attack to the point of untruthfulness.” [City Club of Portland, 10/13/06; KATU 10/3/06; Oregonian, 10/11/06; Mail Tribune, 10/6/06]

Governor Kulongoski’s Record:

Visiting Rural Oregon. Saxton has repeatedly said that the Governor never visits rural areas of the state. The truth is that the Governor traveled to every county in Oregon in his first three years, including at least eight visits to Klamath Falls, seven to La Grande, eleven to Pendleton and a dozen to Bend. [KGW Debate, 10/17/06; City Club of Portland, 10/13/06; Governor’s Travel Log]

Chalkboard Project Reforms. Saxton cites recommendations made by the Chalkboard Project, claiming the Governor opposes them. But as The Oregonian reported, "Sue Hildick, president of the Chalkboard Project, says, ‘…the governor is supportive of what we are doing.’" [Oregonian editorial board meeting, Saxton Press Conference 9/8/06; Oregonian, 10/24/06]

Making State Government Efficient. Saxton continues to falsely assert that nothing has been done to make government more efficient over the last four years when in fact the Governor has saved taxpayers more than $1 billion by pooling government purchases, consolidating mail services, reforming PERS and eliminating over 250,000 pages of paperwork businesses had been required to file annually. [City Club of Portland, 10/13/06; Kulongoski For Governor]

Advisory Committee on Efficiency. Saxton touts an advisory committee report, “Making Oregon Work.” Governor Kulongoski has implemented in full, or in part, 14 out of the 17 recommendations in the report including reducing the regulatory overlap among agencies and improving cost-effectiveness and efficiency of internal government operations. [KGW Debate, 10/17/06]

State of Oregon:

Small Businesses and the Corporate Kicker. Saxton opposes putting the corporate kicker into a rainy day fund because he says it would hurt small businesses. But according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, 93 percent of the corporate kicker goes to corporations making over $250,000 a year and more 80 percent of the corporate kicker leaves the state. Moreover, most small businesses are S-corporations, meaning they are taxed at the individuals – not corporate - rate. [KGW Debate, 10/17/06; OCPP, 3/28/06; Oregonian, 10/24/06]

Legal Residency Requirements for Driver’s Licenses. Saxton has repeatedly made the false claims that there is already a legal residency requirement under state law and that Governor Kulongoski has done nothing to prepare Oregon for compliance with the federal REAL ID act. As The Oregonian reported, “Oregon does not require that people living in the state prove they are legal U.S. residents before getting driver's licenses – and it has been that way for decades. …With Kulongoski's approval, motor vehicle officials have drafted legislation that would implement a federal law banning driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.” [Statesman Journal Debate, 10/4/06; Oregonian editorial board meeting, Oregonian, 10/24/06]

Children’s First Report. Saxton cites a report card by Children First for Oregon, but omits that he does not support the majority of their recommendations including the defeat of Measure 41, placing the corporate kicker in a rainy day fund, and enrolling all eligible children in the Oregon Health Plan – or that the report changed criteria measured in previous years. [Statesman Journal Debate, 10/4/06; Children First for Oregon Release, 9/26/07]

Oregon’s Economy. Saxton has repeatedly talked down Oregon’s economy, stating for instance “we have one of the weaker economies in America.” Yet no amount of spin can change the fact that Oregon is in the top ten in the nation for job creation, economic growth and gains in manufacturing jobs. [City Club of Portland, 10/13/06;; Oregonian 10/22/06]

Budget Numbers:

Education Spending. Saxton frequently states that despite spending a billion more on education, Oregon’s schools are not improved. As The Oregonian reported, "School spending rose about $900 million on Kulongoski's watch. But when he entered office in 2003, the state was still deep in recession and schools were being forced to cut programs and lay off teachers. That year, ninety school districts closed early. Almost all school districts say they no longer face such severe financial pressure. Test scores are up and the dropout rate is down slightly." [Oregonian, 10/24/06]

Cost of Prison Food. Saxton keeps claiming that it costs the state twice as much to feed prisoners as privatized services in certain counties. But as the Register-Guard reported in September, the state actually pays less than many of the counties Saxton cites and is the 12th most efficient state in the nation for food costs. [City Club of Portland, 10/13/06; Register Guard, 9/15/06]

Anticipated Revenue. Saxton continually claims that Oregon will have $2 billion in new revenue next budget, avoiding the need to examine revenue sources. Yet he himself has acknowledged on several occasions that over half of that increase will flow back to taxpayers under the Kicker. [KGW 10/17/06; City Club of Portland, 10/13/06; Statesman Journal Debate, 10/4/06; Oregonian Editorial Board Meeting]


Posted on October 24, 2006