New Gary Moore ad takes on Thomas Massie over county budget -- but is the claim accurate?

05/08/2012 11:44 AM

The TV ad 4th Congressional District Republican candidate Gary Moore launched on Tuesday takes direct aim at opponent Thomas Massie, accusing Massie of increasing county spending by 41 percent.

Moore, who is in his fourth term as Boone County judge-executive, is seeking to contrast his economic approach to that of Massie, a first-term judge-executive from Lewis County who has lined up much of the tea party support across the district.

Moore’s ad is airing in the Louisville and Northern Kentucky cable markets. It highlights the high unemployment rate in Lewis County, as well as some of the economic factors in Boone County, one of the most prosperous in Kentucky.

But the most questionable claim is the ad’s assertion that Massie approved a budget that increased county spending by 41 percent.

Moore’s ad cites a May 23, 2011, article from the Maysville Ledger Independent in which Massie and the fiscal court approved a total budget of $6.9 million, which included spending for road construction and the county jail. It included $1.02 million for the county’s general fund. The article, however, doesn’t include a comparable figure for the previous year’s spending.

Instead, Moore’s campaign produced another_ Maysville Ledger Independent _article from April 26, 2011, in which the fiscal court debated a draft of the budget. That included the following lines:

Total for the general fund is more than $1.01 million for 2011-2012, down from an approximate $1.32 million the previous year … For 2011-2012, budgeted expenditures total more than $1.17 million, up from more than $829,000 for the current year. Part of the increase will go toward salaries for deputy jailers, which was budgeted at $375,000 for the current year and will be nearly $500,000 for 2011-2012.

But, in the final version of the budget as described in the May 23 article, the fiscal court approved $420,000 for jail employee salaries.

That would mean even by the Moore camp’s calculations of county general fund spending increases, the 41 percent number is incorrect.

The Moore campaign also pointed to a specific increase in the jail fund, which went up from $829,000 to $1.14 million in that year.

But in terms of overall spending, Massie’s campaign said the county’s budget went down by 21 percent, from more than $8.7 million to about $6.9 million. Much of the decrease came from lower federal and state funds, such as expiration of a federal Homeland Security grant and less money for road construction.

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