While the charges are serious, the attack ad has a lighthearted tone. Playing on King's surname, the ad shows King with a crown on his head. Background music is cartoonish, and at one point it employs what sounds like an actual recording of King's chuckle.
The script is as follows:
The spot is similar to a mailer sent last week that also attacks "The King" for voting for tax increases and to raise his own pay.
The Martinez campaign has documented King's votes on pieces of legislation that are the basis for the attacks. But the facts are a bit more complex.
The ad says King voted for the "largest tax increase in history." Martinez's opposition research website (www.GaryKingFacts.com) as well as the recent mailer specify that the campaign is saying it was the largest increase "in state history."
The tax hikes cited in the Martinez ad were two bills from 1987: Senate Bills 652 and 653. The first one raised the state gasoline tax from
Both bills passed with bipartisan support and were signed by Republican Gov.
King, who was a freshman member of the
He pointed out that in the early 1980s, a few years before he was elected to the House, when oil and gas revenues were high,
By 1987, oil prices dropped again. "Every governor is responsible to present a balanced budget," King said, referring to Carruthers.
But was it the biggest tax hike in state history?
According to news accounts in 1987, the two bills were estimated to cost taxpayers
That's smaller than the
It's also smaller than tax increases to balance the state budget during the height of the recession in 2010, which totaled more than
As for voting to raise his own pay, King pointed out that
He voted for an amendment, which passed in 1996 with little opposition, that eliminated the dollar amount in the constitution and instead based the per diem on an
King acknowledged that he did vote for a proposed constitutional amendment that would provide salaries for legislators. "I guess I'm guilty of that," he said.
As for voting to "sweeten his own taxpayer retirement," this also refers to a 1987 bill. The bill (HB 255) amended the law allowing legislators and the lieutenant governor to participate in a retirement plan. The changes allowed lawmakers of any age to get a pension after 15 years of service, or to retire at the age of 60 after 12 years of service, or at age 65 after five years of service.
King, who served 12 years in
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