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FACT CHECK: FactFinder 12 looks into ad’s claims against Congressional candidate Bill Clifford

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 12:00 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - An ad paid for by the American Values First PAC makes claims against Congressional candidate Bill Clifford, facing former lieutenant governor Tracey Mann in the GOP primary to represent Kansas’ First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Records show the American Values First PAC has spent more than $118,000 in opposition to Clifford, throwing its support money behind Mann.

The recent attack ad against Clifford claims that “while Republicans put a lid on property taxes in Kansas, Clifford tried to repeal it and impose millions of dollars in new property tax increases on the people of Kansas.”

The ad refers to a law passed by the state legislature that requires cities and counties to hold public votes if they intend to raise property taxes above the rate of inflation. Using the same source cited in the ad, we find it’s true, Clifford was outspoken in opposition to the new state law and how it might affect the county’s budget, as were some of his fellow members of the Finney County Commission. However, Clifford never had any power to repeal the law.

The ad also claims that “while a member of his county commission, (Clifford) repeatedly pushed property tax hikes without a vote of the people.”

In 2016, Clifford voted to adopt the Finney County budget for 2017 with a property tax levy increase. But again, according to the same source cited in the ad, the increase did not require a voter under the state’s tax lid law.

Clifford’s campaign provided a response to the ad backing Mann.

“Tracey Mann’s administration raised spending by hundreds of millions of dollars on the backs of Kansas property taxpayers,” Clifford’s campaign said. “The D.C. Swamp is attacking Bill Clifford because he favors real property tax relief, not Topeka’s lame excuses.”

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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