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Jim GallowayJim Galloway

Debunking a Jason Carter sound bite

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Last Friday, Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor, addressed the Georgia School Board Association as it held its annual gathering in Savannah.

Someone over at PeachPundit.com has helpfully provided a 15-second clip from Carter’s 45-minute appearance – which the Georgia Republican party jumped on this afternoon:

In case you wondered what came before and after that unartful edit, we’ve got a meatier sound bite here:

And a transcript of the same below, with the video-clipped portion marked in bold:

Carter: “Let me start, number one, on the tax issue. First of all, it is a false choice to say that we’ve done this without raising taxes. Ninety-one school districts have had to raise taxes.

“And nobody, nobody, thinks that it’s better to pay for our education system on the backs of property taxes than it is with the state revenue stream. Period. Number two, we cannot, and I would not ask the people of Georgia to pay more in state taxes, right now, because our state government is a shell game, and you cannot go to the people and say that you should pay more taxes.

And I wouldn’t because they can’t trust the politicians to do what they say they’re going to do with their money. That’s just a fact.

“So, the answer for how we live within our means and still support education in ways that make sense is priorities. If you put that state budget together the way that I have described, yes, there will be difficult budgeting decisions on the other side of that ledger. And, yes, we will have to make ends meet, and yes there will be tough choices.

“But, now, we balance our budget on the backs of the education fund to the tune of a billion dollars a year. Now, whether that whole billion dollars goes back in, I don’t make that kind of a promise because we’re going to have to work with the Legislature, and we’re going to have to work with local school boards to figure out exactly what is the appropriate level of funding.

“But, I know that if we instill some accountability into that budgeting process, it will change. It will be honest; it will be transparent; and right now it is not. And, I believe that if we do that, then we will have a discussion and a dialogue about how much and how to fund education that will drive us forward.

“And we will not have to raise taxes to do that. We will make tough budgeting decisions, but instead of making those tough budgeting decisions by eating our seed corn, and skimping on the mortgage and gas and food that we have to have for our families, we’ll not take the vacations….”

The bad thing about modern politicking is that everything is recorded — as Carter himself recently discovered. The good thing is that everything is recorded — and that misleading edits can be exposed as the bone-headed attempts at propaganda they are. Look, it’s fine to criticize Carter and his education-first proposal for state budgeting. He can, and should, be required to point to the areas of government he would shrink in order to pay for his priorities.

But coherent dialogue is important, people, as is context. Let’s raise the level when we can.

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