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Reality Check: Evaluating Local Campaign Ad

Published On: Oct 27 2008 08:38:57 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 28 2008 07:02:54 AM CDT

There is no shortage of local campaign ads on screens across the state with just a week before the upcoming election.

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WISC-TV looked into one that doesn't tell the whole story on a candidate's record.

With a clever reference to Bugs Bunny, a third-party ad poses questions about Assembly candidate Doc Hines' votes on the state budget. The ad is paid for by the Greater Wisconsin Committee, a political action group out of Milwaukee that said it pursues a "progressive policy agenda."

The ad begins by asking if Republican J.A. "Doc" Hines has been a state representative in the 42nd District for too long. He has held the seat since 2001.

The ad then alleges that Hines voted to cut funding for schools by $130 million.

While it is true that Hines voted to cut school aid in the original budget plan that passed the state assembly last year, the numbers are off.

The Republican-controlled Assembly passed a plan they said rejected any proposed tax increases and cut $85 million for state school aids -- not $130 million.

The ad later contends that Hines voted to cut financial aid for college students and voted against ensuring all children have health insurance.

In reality, the assembly cut $26 million from financial aid for the University of Wisconsin schools, the most popular need-based aid program for low-income students.

The Republican budget also eliminated funding for an expansion of the BadgerCare Plus program -- a $31 million program directed at low-income families that Gov. James Doyle Jr. said would cover nearly every child in the state.

However, one thing to note about these votes is that they ultimately were not adopted. The state Legislature was at a stalemate for months over the budget.

In the end, Hines voted for the budget negotiated through the bipartisan Conference Committee, which included $77 million in school aids -- including $26 million for financial aid.

The negotiated budget also approved coverage for all children via BadgerCare Plus.

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