District 83 Campaign Gets Ugly, NewsChannel 11 Seeks Truth - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/2/06

District 83 Campaign Gets Ugly, NewsChannel 11 Seeks Truth

We're now just five days away from the republican primary elections and candidates for District 83 House Representative say the race has turned ugly. Incumbent Delwin Jones and challenger Van Wilson have been going back and forth on what they say is the truth about Jones' voting record, so we looked for ourselves. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire researched the matter and explains what she found.

By now you've probably heard the accusations. On Wednesday, Van Wilson said one of his comments on how Jones voted on a particular bill was inaccurate, but Wilson says his campaign is based on other Jones votes as well. Anyone who's tried to find out about a piece of legislation in the house knows it can be difficult, so we got help from a political science professor at Texas Tech and the state office in Austin to help cut through the clutter. Here's what we found now you be the judge.

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Wilson says his campaign is based on Jones' voting record. However, Wednesday Wilson said he made a mistake.

"I referred to it on these two with the wrong session and record vote number. I check everything and I totally missed that and I would like to say I'm sorry for that, but on these two mailers the information is correct," he said.

Wilson said he cited the wrong session with the wrong recorded vote number. In the ad he now says is correct he cites the 78th Session Senate House Bill 1. The ad claims "Jones voted for a new payroll tax."

Texas Tech Political Science Professor Craig Goodman tells NewsChannel 11 that bill is actually about overhauling school finance. An portion from the bill analysis states "a thorough and efficient system be provided and financed through state revenue sources."

Goodman tells NewsChannel 11 Jones' final vote on the matter was no.

On Wednesday, Wilson handed out voting records highlighting how Jones voted. One states Jones "voted with the majority of democrats to kill a school finance bill and teacher pay raise."

The bill analysis confirms House Bill 2, 79th Session is about school finance. However, concerning pay raises it says "professional staff salaries and additional state aid is provided for employees who are subject to the minimum salary schedule."

As Wilson said, Jones voted no on the final vote with the majority of democrats, and so did district 84 Representative Carl Iestt.

Another handout from Wilson states "Jones joins democrats to kill the biggest property tax cut in state history." We found the main concept of house bill three 79th session appears to be school district tax rates.

The bill analysis states "house bill three raises state revenue (taxes) to fund a significant property tax reduction for Texas taxpayers."

Wilson is correct that Jones voted no at first, but during the bill's final reading after being amended, Jones voted yes, meaning Wilson was not completely correct.

You can look up voting records for yourself on the House of Representatives website just click on the following link ( house.state.tx.us) then click on voting records.

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