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Right To Exaggerate: New Pro-Bush Ad Generously Inflates Jeb's Record

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ben Ray
BRay@AmericanBridge.org
September 24, 2015

Washington, DCBolstered by debunked claims, a newly released ad from Right to Rise, a super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential candidacy, cherrypicks facts and massages numbers to present Jeb Bush’s at-best undistinguished gubernatorial record as a success.

From Jessica Mackler, President of American Bridge:

“Jeb Bush is entitled to his own opinions, but he’s not entitled to his own facts. By the end of Jeb Bush’s tenure, Florida’s graduation rate was nearly last nationally. Bush has cherrypicked Florida’s job creation numbers — and his touted tax cuts favored the wealthy over working families. And as for his prized economic growth, Bush is indebted to an immense housing bubble that conveniently lasted just long enough for him to leave office. Jeb Bush has a track record, certainly — but it’s one of tremendous mediocrity, in no danger of being considered a success.”

Background:

Rhetoric Reality
Right to Rise ad: Bush was the “biggest budget cutter” among 2016 GOP candidates

 Spending Went Up Under Bush’s Leadership

 

CATO: Bush “Let Spending Rise Quickly Toward The End Of His Tenure” And “Jeb Was Good On Taxes, But Apparently Not So Good On Spending.” According to the CATO Institute, “The basic story from the Cato reports is that Jeb Bush was a prolific tax cutter, but he let spending rise quickly toward the end of his tenure. Like George W. Bush, Jeb was good on taxes, but apparently not so good on spending. Jeb Bush was in office from 1999 to 2007. Florida general fund spending increased from $18.0 billion to $28.2 billion during those eight years, or 57 percent. Total state spending increased from $45.6 billion to $66.1 billion, or 45 percent. (This is NASBO data from here and here). Over those eight years, Florida’s population grew 16 percent and the CPI, which measures inflation, grew 24 percent.” [CATO Institute, 4/9/14]

·         1999-2007: Florida General Fund Spending Rose From $18 Billion To $28 Billion.  [National Association Of State Budget Officers, 1999-2007]

 

·         1999-2007: Total Florida Spending Rose From $45 billion to $66 billion [National Association Of State Budget Officers,1999-2007]

 

Right to Rise ad: Bush “Cut taxes many times”

Bush’s Tax Cuts Primarily Benefitted The Wealthy And Businesses

Sun-Sentinel: Jeb Bush Pushed For Tax Cuts That “Chiefly Benefited Business And The Wealthy.” According to the Sun-Sentinel, “A policy wonk, Bush pursued an agenda so frenetic that even his efficiency czar resigned in protest. ‘I’ve always felt, if you can do something today, why wait? It’s just my nature,’ said Bush, 53, who grew grayer and slightly stouter in Tallahassee, but never slackened his pace, even during his final days. He championed tax cuts that chiefly benefited business and the wealthy, trimmed the state payroll, stripped job protection from thousands of mid-level civil servants, gained more power over the judiciary, exploited his Washington connections to prevent the closing of military bases and launched the nation’s first statewide private school voucher program.” [Sun-Sentinel, 12/31/06]

Carl Hiaasen Column: Jeb Bush Pushed Tax Breaks Which Mainly “Benefitted Corporations And The Well-To-Do.” According to a column by Carl Hiassen and published by the Miami Herald, “In Tallahassee they talk of the Bush legacy as an historic shift in power from the Legislature to the governor’s office; of the more than 250 judges that he appointed; of the overhaul of the state’s university system, now run by political appointees instead of by an independent Board of Regents; of $19 billion in tax cuts. Therest of Florida won’t remember Bush for his policy initiatives or power-building, abstractions to ordinary folks. Same goes for the tax breaks, which chiefly benefited corporations and the well-to-do. The image of Jeb that will remain in the public consciousness is of a sober, steady presence during all those hurricanes that mauled the state during his tenure.” [Miami Herald, 1/7/07]

St. Petersburg Times: Tax Burden Was “Lightened Only For The Wealthiest, Who Were Taxed TheLeast To Begin With.” According to an editorial published by the St. Petersburg Times, “In his inaugural address four years ago, Gov. Jeb Bush complained about the ‘crushing weight’ of Florida taxes. He has prided himself on cutting taxes every session since then. But for most Floridians, the state and local tax burden has become heavier still. It has been lightened only for the wealthiest, who were taxed the least to begin with.” [Editorial – St. Petersburg Times, 1/12/03]

Orlando Sentinel: During Eight Years Under Bush, The Legislature Approved A Cumulative $19 Billion In Tax Cuts That Mostly Helped Wealthier Floridians And Corporations. According to theOrlando Sentinel, “During eight years under former Gov. Jeb Bush, the Legislature approved a cumulative $19 billion in tax cuts that mostly helped wealthier Floridians and corporations.” [Orlando Sentinel, 3/2/08]

 

Right to Rise ad: Bush was a “leader in K-12 reform”

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: WHEN BUSH LEFT OFFICE, FLORIDA EARNED “D” GRADES FOR WORKFORCE READINESS AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT  

2007: U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Gave Florida A “D” For “Postsecondary And Workforce Readiness.”According to the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, “Florida earns a poor grade in this category. Only 58% of its 9th grade students receive a diploma within four years compared with the national average of 70%.” [U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Report Card, 2007]

2007: U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Gave Florida A “D” For “Academic Achievement.” According to the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, “Student performance in Florida is lower than average. Eighth graders stand 4 percentage points below the national average in the percentage at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam.” [U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Report Card, 2007]

POLITIFACT: COST OF TUITION INCREASED BY 59.6 PERCENT WHILE BUSH WAS GOVERNOR, AND FLORIDA’S GRADUATION RATE WAS DEAD LAST WHEN HE LEFT OFFICE

PolitiFact: “Mostly True” That “After Bush’s Two Terms In Office, Florida’s Graduation Rate Was Dead Last And Remains Near The Bottom.” According to PolitiFact, “Gelber said that ‘after Bush’s two terms in office, Florida’s graduation rate was dead last and remains near the bottom.’ Gelber cited Morgan Quitno data which showed Florida was 50th in 2004-06. But other data sources — the federal government’s method and Education Week — showed that Florida was near the bottom of the pack in Bush’s last full year but not dead last. Gelber is on more solid ground when he said that Florida ‘remains near the bottom.’ In 2012-13, only seven states had a lower rate, while two were tied with Florida, according to the federal cohort method. We rate this claim Mostly True.” [PolitiFact, 7/24/15]

PolitiFact: Strict Cost Of Tuition Per Hour Went Up 56.9 Percent Over The Eight Years Jeb Bush Was Governor. According to PolitiFact, “The Florida Democratic Party said Bush ‘oversaw average in-state tuition increase of 48.2 percent during his tenure.’ While not having the power to increase tuition himself, Bush did sign budgets in which the Legislature increased tuition substantially. We came up with 56.9 percent ourselves, counting the strict cost of tuition per hour over the eight years Bush was governor. That hike doesn’t beat estimates of the nationwide average at the time, however, and in-state, undergraduate tuition was still quite a deal compared to other states when Bush left office. The statement is accurate, but needs clarification or additional information. We rate it Mostly True.” [PolitiFact, 6/30/15]

 

Right to Rise ad: Under Bush, Florida was “number 1 in job creation”

Claim That Florida “Led The Nation In Job Creation” Under Jeb Bush was Rated “Four Pinocchios”; Bush Campaign “Goose[d] The Statistics”

Washington Post: “Four Pinocchios” For Claim That Florida “Led The Nation In Job Creation” Under Jeb Bush. According to the Washington Post, “We initially thought this might be worthy of Three Pinocchios, but the total package of mendacity tipped us to Four. Readers would be well advised to ignore job-creation claims by politicians. […] We stand by our rating. Raw job totals are practically meaningless, especially for a big state like Florida, as what matters is the rate of job growth. The campaign cannot arbitrarily lop off a year in order to goose the statistics. While the ad attributes this claim to The Washington Post, the newspaper did not make this claim–and the article in question undercuts the point of the ad. These were mainly jobs that did not ‘deliver’ for the recipients. That’s why we ultimately settled on Four Pinocchios.” [Washington Post, 9/9/15]

Economists Said Economic Growth Was Due To Factors Besides Bush’s Governorship

Jeb Bush Boasted That His Conservative Revolution Had Led To A $5 Billion Plus Surplus In State Revenue And An Unemployment Rate Of 3 Percent; Economists Credited Population Growth, Home Buyers, And Tourism For The Robust Economy. According to a column by David Colburn, “Beyond such political and structural developments, Bush enjoyed eight years of prosperity during which he was able to reduce taxes without disrupting state services. Bush boasted that his conservative revolution had led to a $5 billion plus surplus in state revenue and an unemployment rate of 3 percent. Economists, however, credited population growth, home buyers and tourism for the robust economy.” [Orlando Sentinel – David Colburn Column, 12/10/06]

 

Right to Rise ad: Bush oversaw “1.3 million new jobs”

Job Growth Under Jeb Bush Was Lower Than The Previous Five Governors

Strong Job Growth In Florida During Jeb Bush’s Tenure Was Lower Than That Of The Previous Five Governors. According to the Miami Herald, “A strong state and national economy fattened Florida’s budget by 45 percent — from $49 billion when he took office to more than $71 billion this year. Bush credited his tax cuts for strong job growth, although the rate was the lowest of Florida’s past five governors.” [Miami Herald, 12/17/06]

 

Right to Rise ad: Bush oversaw “4.4% growth, higher family income” GROWTH DURING BUSH YEARS WAS DRIVEN BY HOUSING BUBBLE

Significant Amount Of Florida’s Economic And Job Growth In The Jeb Bush Era Was Driven By A Massive Run-Up In Housing Prices, Which Peaked In Jeb Bush’s Last Year In Office, Then Plunged The State Into A Worse Recession Than The Nation As A Whole. According to theWashington Post, “Those stats are, indeed, something to brag about. They’re also missing a huge caveat, asmany Bush critics immediately noted: A significant amount of Florida’s economic and job growth in theBush era was driven by a massive run-up in housing prices — which peaked in Bush’s last year in office, then plunged the state into a worse recession than the nation as a whole.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries Said It Is “Empirically Inescapable” That “Housing Was A Big Part Of The Robust Florida Economy At The Time.” According to the Washington Post, “It is ‘empirically inescapable’ that ‘housing was a big part of the robust Florida economy at the time,’ said Stan Humphries, the chief economist at the real estate website Zillow, which analyzed the role of housing-driven spending in the state’s economic boom.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

Escalating Home Prices Helped Jeb Bush When He Was In Office, And Hurt Florida When He Was Out Of Office. According to the Washington Post, “Escalating home prices fuel the economy in several ways. They drive more activity in the construction and real estate sectors. Indirectly, rising prices make homeowners spend more money on consumer goods. That’s because those homeowners feel wealthier, because their houses are more valuable. Both those effects helped Bush when he was in office, and hurt Florida when he was out of office.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

More Than A Third Of Florida’s Better-Than-The-Nation Growth Under Jeb Bush Was A Direct Result Of Increased Construction And Real Estate Activity. According to the Washington Post, “Florida saw a much sharper increase in its construction and real estate sectors than the nation as a whole during the time Bush was governor. According to a Post analysis of Commerce Department statistics, more than a third of Florida’s better-than-the-nation growth under Bush was a direct result of increased construction and real estate activity.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

Zillow Found That, Through The Peak Of The Housing Bubble In 2005, Half Of Florida’s Faster-Than-The-Nation Growth Was Attributable To The Housing Wealth Effect. According to theWashington Post, “Estimating the ‘wealth effect’ – the extra consumer spending due to rising housing prices – is less exact. Economists at Zillow attempted to do so at the request of the Post. They added up the total value of all housing in Florida and in the nation from 1998 through 2006, and the change in value from year to year. Then they assumed – based on a conservative read of economic literature – that consumers would increase their spending each year by one-tenth the added value of their homes. Zillow found that, through the peak of the housing bubble in 2005, half of Florida’s faster-than-the-nation growth was attributable to the housing wealth effect.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

Wells Fargo Economic Mark Vitner Estimated That The Housing Bubble Accounted For About One-Fourth Of Florida’s Growth During Jeb Bush’s Tenure. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he can deliver 4% annual economic growth as president – about twice as fast as the U.S. has been growing recently. Why is he so confident? During his 1999-2007 tenure as governor, Florida grew 4.4%, his campaign boasts. Today it even unveiled a cute graphic illustrating the claim. The trouble is, say some economists, Gov. Bush’s Florida growth record was based in large part on a housing bubble – national in scope but particularly frothy in Florida — that exploded the year he left office in 2007. Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner, who has studied the Florida economy since the 1980s, estimates that the housing bubble accounted for about one-fourth of Florida’s growth during Mr. Bush’s tenure.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/7/15]

Mark Zandi: “The Growth In Florida Wasn’t Sustainable. It Was Something Temporary” Due To The Housing Bubble.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, a housing expert, says Florida’s economy in the early 2000s isn’t a model for U.S. growth over the coming years. ‘The growth in Florida wasn’t sustainable,’ he said. ‘It was something temporary’ due to the housing bubble.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/7/15]

ECONOMIC GAINS WERE WIPED OUT IN THE FOUR YEARS AFTER JEB BUSH LEFT OFFICE
Almost All Of The Economic Gains Jeb Bush Referred To, Including Three-Fifths Of The Job Creation, Were Wiped Out In The Four Years After He Left Office, Once The Bubble Burst. According to the Washington Post, “When you account for the role of housing, Bush’s economic record looks a lot more mixed. Almost all of the gains he talks up today, including three-fifths of the job creation, were wiped out in the four years after he left office, once the bubble burst.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

By The Mid-2000s, Florida’s Housing Prices Rose By Nearly 30 Percent A Year, More Than Double The National Average; By 2011, They Bottomed Out And Lost All The Extra Value They’d Gained Since 2003. According to the Washington Post, “It’s easy to see just how much higher the bubble rose in Florida than in the rest of the country. By the mid-2000s, the state’s housing prices were rising by nearly 30 percent a year, more than double the national average. But by 2011, they’d bottom out — and lost all the extra value they’d gained since 2003.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

Zillow’s Analysis Showed That In 2006, The Housing Effect Disappeared Because The Growth In Housing Prices Slammed To A Halt. According to the Washington Post, “In the last year of Zillow’s analysis, 2006, the housing effect disappears – because the growth in housing prices slams to a halt. Examining the several years that followed Bush’s term, Humphries said, would show housing extracting a drag on the state’s economy.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

Housing Bubble Collapse Pushed Florida Into A More Severe Recession Than The Rest Of The Country

Housing Bubble Collapse Pushed Florida Into A More Severe Recession; Florida Construction Employment Grew By Half Under Jeb Bush, More Than Double The National Rate, And In TheFollowing Eight Years, It Fell Nearly Twice As Fast. According to the Washington Post, “Just as thehousing bubble helped the Florida economy rev hotter than the nation under Bush, its collapse pushed thestate into a more severe recession. Florida construction employment grew by half under Bush, more than double the national rate — and in the following eight years, it fell nearly twice as fast.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

In The Four Years After Jeb Bush Left Office, As Housing Prices Tumbled And Recession Set In, The Nation Averaged 0.3 Percent Growth, While Florida Averaged -2.4 Percent Growth. According to the Washington Post, “The most striking stat, though, is growth. Under Bush, Florida indeed averaged 4.4 percent growth per year, after adjusting for inflation; at the same time, the nation averaged 3 percent growth. In the four years after Bush left office, as housing prices tumbled and recession set in, the nationaveraged 0.3 percent growth. Florida averaged -2.4 percent.” [Washington Post, 6/16/15]

ECONOMIST: “JEB’S FLORIDA FAILS AS A MODEL FORTHE NATION”

Economist Dave Denslow Column: “Florida’s Strong Growth From 1999 Through 2006, His Years As Governor, Was Fueled By A Housing Bubble…Jeb’s Florida Fails As A Model For The Nation.” According to a column by economist Dave Denslow and published by the Gainesville Sun, “Turning back to Jeb, who would not be a candidate today had Dukakis won in 1988, everyone knows that Florida’s strong growth from 1999 through 2006, his years as governor, was fueled by a housing bubble, even zanier here than in most other states. Fortuitously, the bubble slowed and then burst as Jeb left office, plunging Floridadeep into recession. To gain a longer perspective, consider the years from 1999 through 2014. Florida’s real GDP per person rose by 3 percent. That’s 3 percent total, not per year. Over the same period, U.S. real GDP per person rose by more than 14 percent. If U.S. real GDP per person had been as torpid as Florida’s, the nation would be 10 percent below where it is today. Now that statement is simplified, omitting Florida’s rapid retiree population growth. But even so, Jeb’s Florida fails as a model for the nation.” [Gainesville Sun – Dave Denslow Column, 6/28/15]

 

Right to Rise ad: Bush “Cut taxes 8 years in a row”

Bush’s Tax Cuts Primarily Benefitted The Wealthy And Businesses

Sun-Sentinel: Jeb Bush Pushed For Tax Cuts That “Chiefly Benefited Business And The Wealthy.” According to the Sun-Sentinel, “A policy wonk, Bush pursued an agenda so frenetic that even his efficiency czar resigned in protest. ‘I’ve always felt, if you can do something today, why wait? It’s just my nature,’ said Bush, 53, who grew grayer and slightly stouter in Tallahassee, but never slackened his pace, even during his final days. He championed tax cuts that chiefly benefited business and the wealthy, trimmed the state payroll, stripped job protection from thousands of mid-level civil servants, gained more power over the judiciary, exploited his Washington connections to prevent the closing of military bases and launched the nation’s first statewide private school voucher program.” [Sun-Sentinel, 12/31/06]

Carl Hiaasen Column: Jeb Bush Pushed Tax Breaks Which Mainly “Benefitted Corporations And The Well-To-Do.” According to a column by Carl Hiassen and published by the Miami Herald, “In Tallahassee they talk of the Bush legacy as an historic shift in power from the Legislature to the governor’s office; of the more than 250 judges that he appointed; of the overhaul of the state’s university system, now run by political appointees instead of by an independent Board of Regents; of $19 billion in tax cuts. Therest of Florida won’t remember Bush for his policy initiatives or power-building, abstractions to ordinary folks. Same goes for the tax breaks, which chiefly benefited corporations and the well-to-do. The image of Jeb that will remain in the public consciousness is of a sober, steady presence during all those hurricanes that mauled the state during his tenure.” [Miami Herald, 1/7/07]

St. Petersburg Times: Tax Burden Was “Lightened Only For The Wealthiest, Who Were Taxed The Least To Begin With.” According to an editorial published by the St. Petersburg Times, “In his inaugural address four years ago, Gov. Jeb Bush complained about the ‘crushing weight’ of Florida taxes. He has prided himself on cutting taxes every session since then. But for most Floridians, the state and local tax burden has become heavier still. It has been lightened only for the wealthiest, who were taxed the least to begin with.” [Editorial – St. Petersburg Times, 1/12/03]

Orlando Sentinel: During Eight Years Under Bush, The Legislature Approved A Cumulative $19 Billion In Tax Cuts That Mostly Helped Wealthier Floridians And Corporations. According to theOrlando Sentinel, “During eight years under former Gov. Jeb Bush, the Legislature approved a cumulative $19 billion in tax cuts that mostly helped wealthier Floridians and corporations.” [Orlando Sentinel, 3/2/08]

 

Right to Rise ad: Bush: I “Used my veto power to protect our taxpayers from needless spending” 2001: Jeb Bush Vetoed Funding For Family Planning Services Provided To Poor Women Through Planned Parenthood. According to the St. Petersburg Times, “Even the most powerful state lawmakers were hit by Gov. Jeb Bush’s vetoes on Friday. The Republican governor vetoed $ 290-million in the state budget that lawmakers passed this spring, including more than $ 25-million for projects in two counties – Manatee and Sarasota – represented by Senate President John McKay. […] The cuts also included $ 302,843 for family planning services provided to poor women through local Planned Parenthood affiliates, money that had been provided each year for more than a decade. The share earmarked for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, which includes the Tampa Bay area, was $ 125,800 for services for 1,258 women. The other regional affiliates affected by the cuts are based in Jacksonville and Naples. ‘Many of our patients have no health insurance nor are eligible for Medicaid. They absolutely depend on clinics like ours,’ said Barbara A. Zdravecky, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.” [St. Petersburg Times, 6/16/01]

2004: Jeb Bush Vetoed $500,000 For Breast Cancer Research At The University Of Miami. According to the Miami Herald, “Here are some of the largest cuts Gov. Jeb Bush made Friday from the state budget: […] University of Miami, $500,000 breast cancer research” [Miami Herald, 5/29/04]

2005: Jeb Bush Vetoed $30,000 For A Cervical Cancer Task Force. According to the Ledger, “Rep. Anne Gannon, D-Delray Beach, sharply criticized Bush’s veto of $ 30,000 to fund a cervical cancer task force that was created by lawmakers last year but never funded. ‘The governor is greatly detached from the health issues that face women, and this veto clearly shows his disconnect,’ she said. But Bush said he was also a little more lenient on his vetocriteria for some areas, including communities that were hit hard by last year’s hurricanes and rural communities that have a limited ability to raise their own revenue.” [Ledger, 5/27/05]

2006: Jeb Bush Vetoed $43,000 For A Breast Health Initiative For Teens. According to the Florida Times-Union, “Here are some of Northeast Florida projects among Gov. Jeb Bush’s $448.7 million in vetoes announcedThursday: […] — Breast health initiative for teens, $43,000” [Florida Times-Union, 5/26/06]

2006: Jeb Bush Vetoed $75,000 For The Florida Cancer Control Research Advisory Council To Develop Cervical Cancer Priorities. In a veto message, Jeb Bush wrote, “Specific Appropriation 538 Pages 105 and 106 – A portion of proviso language […] FloridaCancer Control Research Advisory Council (C-CRAB) to Develop Cervical Cancer Priorities – Statewide…….. 75,000” [Jeb Bush 2006 Veto Message, 5/25/06]