TRUTH TEST: DFL Mailers Get Failing Grade on Pay Raises, Tax Bill

October 17, 2018 11:03 AM

Minnesota's DFL Party is flooding several key legislative districts with deceptive campaign mailers that make it appear that House Republicans voted themselves a 45 percent pay raise.

The direct-mail ads are personalized with the names of Republican House members who are considered to be in tough re-election battles. Each of them includes the name of the Republican with the statement that he or she "voted to give legislators a 45 percent pay raise." That statement is false.


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It is true that Minnesota's 201 state legislators received 45 percent pay raises last year. However, the raises were recommended by the "Legislative Salary Council." The council was created after Minnesota voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 creating the council and putting it in charge of recommended whether the legislature deserves a pay raise.

So not only was there no vote by any legislators on the 45 percent pay raise, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt tried to lead a charge to not accept the pay raise.

"I think there's a large amount of danger that goes with putting legislative pay in the constitution," Daudt told reporters in July 2017. "I did not support that approach. I didn't think it was a good idea."

House Republicans eventually backed down after two state lawmakers filed suit to force acceptance of the pay raise.

In an ironic twist, it was Democratic lawmakers who supported the bill that put the constitutional amendment regarding legislative pay raises on the ballot. House Democrats decided to go that route after the DFL-controlled Senate narrowly approved a bill to directly increase legislative pay without any support from Republicans.

KSTP 2018 Election Page

The campaign mailers also claim the Republican lawmakers "voted to give big businesses a $1.3 billion tax break."

This, too, is false. Although House Republicans, along with three Democrats, did vote for a 2017 tax bill that would have cut taxes $1.3 billion, it included a wide variety of tax breaks for Social Security recipients, property tax breaks for small businesses, estate tax cuts, a property tax exemption for a new professional soccer stadium in St. Paul and dozens of other provisions. That bill was ultimately pared down to $650 million when it was finally approved.

The DFL campaign mailers include major claims that are demonstrably false, misleading and give little, if any, context. They get an "F" on the 5 Eyewitness News "Truth Test."

Send links to political ads you come across by using this online form.

At the end of every "Truth Test," 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and assign the tested political ad a grade.

Here's the criteria we use to determine that grade:

- An "A" requires nearly complete accuracy with little exaggeration and little or no need for more context.

- A "B" requires mostly accurate information, but gets marked down for minor exaggerations and misleading information.

- A "C" can be the result of inaccurate information or exaggerated information that misleads and gives the viewer no context.

- A "D" is the result of at least half the information being false or misleading to the point of leaving a false impression.

- An "F" is the result of more than half the information being outright false as well as misleading and out of context.


Tom Hauser

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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