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Fact Checker: Ads attack Bullock, Hill on education, tax cuts

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Oct 14 2012 03:07:56 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

NBC Montana's Fact Checker series continues with a look at two new television ads paid for by Montana's gubernatorial candidates Steve Bullock and Rick Hill.

A commercial paid for by Friends of Steve Bullock addresses where Bullock and republican opponent Rick Hill stand on education.

“…my opponent calls our teachers the second worst in the nation,” Bullock says in the spot.

In an interview with the Bitterroot Star earlier this year Hill is quoted saying 'we are second to last in quality of teachers.’ That article goes on to say Hill ‘clarified this by stating that it had more to do with the system than individual teachers.’

It turns out he wasn't far off in the statement. According to a study from the Thomas Fordham Foundation Montana ranked dead last in teacher quality based on a set of three criteria used to evaluate 49 states. You can look at an evaluation of that study here.

'…says he'd pull tax payer money out of public schools and give it to private schools instead,’ says the Bullock ad.

According to the non partisan political research site Project Vote Smart, Hill voted yes on a bill in 1997 that would allow states to use certain funds designated for elementary and secondary education, to provide scholarships for children of low-income families to go to private schools.

A spot paid for by Folks for Rick Hill discusses the differences between Hill and Bullock and their plans for jobs, and tax cuts.

'I'm endorsed by leading business groups. My opponent isn't,’ Hill says in the ad.

The Montana Chamber of Commerce did endorse Hill for the 2012 election, citing his experience in business. Their endorsements for other major races like the U.S. Senate seat and State Attorney General were also republican candidates.

'I have the only plan to cut property taxes for every single homeowner and small business in Montana,’ Hill says.

Hill has released a proposal that would provide tax relief using revenue from natural resource development. His plan calls for a $200 million property tax cut in the 2013-2015 biennium, using the state's share of oil and gas revenue to fund education.

Bullock's plan is a one-time $400 property tax rebate to every Montana homeowner. Similar to a plan passed by current Governor Brian Schweitzer.

Non partisan political fact check sites like Project Vote Smart and past legislation and voting records were used to break down the ads and compile this story.