Last week we looked at PolitifactNJ note that everything in a Barbara Buono commercial was true, but because it could have been spun differently they rated the ad Half True.
This week they call claims by Chris Christie that Buono is responsible for the entire four years of Corzine budgets, debt and unemployment “disingenuous” but because the numbers in the ad are accurate this also rates a Half True rating.
So, here we go. Claim 1: Corzine “teamed up with Buono”:
We’re not sure how Corzine “teamed up” with Buono since she was already on her third term as a state senator when he was first elected to state government. Further, the chairmanship of legislative committees is determined by the president in the Senate and the speaker in the Assembly – not the governor. Also, Buono was neither Corzine’s Senate president nor his lieutenant governor, which would have made them more of a ‘team.’
So, that would be a false claim. (We’ll leave aside that the Governor doesn’t have a Senate president (that’s not voted on by the Senate) and Corzine didn’t have a lieutenant governor. Christie is the first governor to have a LG).
OK, now for the numbers. Under Corzine debt increased by $13.4 million, taxes went up, unemployment rose. But the numbers aren’t what should be fact checked, because Christie isn’t running against Corzine. His is running against Buono and the important part of the ad is that he’s blaming Buono for these issues.
Repeatedly Politifact shoots down this claim, noting that Buono was one of many to vote for specific bills.
Buono was one of 22 senators to approve the increase … Buono has responsibility for these increases since she voted in favor of them, but she’s not the only legislator to do so …
As a side note, Politifact also gets the process for budgeting wrong, something that a fact check organization shouldn’t do.
Buono became chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in January 2008 and served through 2009, meaning she led that panel in reviewing and editing a budget before submitting it to Corzine for approval. Buono voted in favor of the budget. Corzine had final approval over it. …
Wait. The State Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee reviews and edits a budget then submits it to the Governor? That’s how we get a budget? We don’t have hearings in dozens of Senate committees, markups, amendments and a little thing called a floor vote of the full Senate? And the Assembly appears to be magically missing in all this. There’s no role for the Assembly?
As for the debt question, they kind of spin that one. Sure, they say, Corzine presided over $13 million in added debt over four years but …
Christie calling her out for that is disingenuous since state debt has climbed an additional $13 million from 2010 — Christie’s first year in office — to 2012, according to the State Debt Report for Fiscal Year 2012.
Oh. So, include this year’s debt load and Christie has added more debt? Wow. Not an incorrect fact, but certainly intentionally obfuscatory.
And the unemployment claims? Politifact notes that the entire country was hemorrhaging jobs at that point (in no small measure the responsibility of President Bush, Christie’s boss at the time) and as such …
Consequently, one New Jersey senator can’t bare the full blame for an economic collapse that gripped the state and nation for several years.
Most of the ad’s claims are correct but imply that Buono is to blame for things such as a sales tax increase, billions in debt and skyrocketing unemployment in two years – during a recession, to boot. All of these resulted from the collective actions of a legislative body – not one person. Also, sharing a political affiliation and chairing a committee didn’t necessarily make Buono and Corzine a ‘team.’ Therefore, we rate the ad Half True.
So the fact points of the ad are mostly correct, but the underlying message is completely hairbrained. And that rates a Half True.