Franks' Ad Attacking Bryant's Education Record: Misleading? - - Jackson, MS

Statewide 10/18/07

Franks' Ad Attacking Bryant's Education Record: Misleading?

By Cheryl Lasseter

Lieutenant Governor candidate Jamie Franks' ad about his Republican opponent Phil Bryant asks, "What is Bryant's record on education?" 

The ad states, "His vote would have cut the school week to four days, forced teacher layoffs, left no gas for school buses."

Is this true? "We were in a budget crisis. We were going have to go to a four-day school week, teachers were going to have to be laid off," Franks says.

The truth is, Bryant, a house member at the time, voted against Senate Bill 3120, a measure to raise sales taxes by 1%. The bill included more than one hundred million dollars in revenues to be allocated to the Education Enhancement Act, to fund textbooks, transportation, and other expenditures. But nowhere does it state in the bill that the school week would be cut or teachers would be laid off if it failed.

"Had Phil Bryant had his way, we would have went to a four-day school week, that's definite," Franks says.

"Those were just threats that the proponents of the bills were making," Bryant says.  "That was a grocery tax increase on the poorest people in the nation. I voted against it, now my opponent says I should have voted to raise taxes on groceries. His whole campaign is, groceries are too high."

Did Bryant vote against money for colleges?  The ad states that Bryant's vote would have meant "millions less for community colleges and universities."

This refers to House Bill 1613, which allocated millions of dollars for capital improvements at higher education institutions. Bryant did vote against the bill. He says he wanted to keep the state's bond indebtedness down.

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