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Truth Test challenges Polis' vote on President's tax plan

Out of state interests are backing up the Brinks truck to buy ads attacking Jared Polis. How much you take home in pay is at the center of the newest ad.

How much you take home in pay is at the center of a new political ad going after Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis.

However, the second ad by State Solutions, Inc, which is a non-profit issue-advocacy group connected with the Republican Governors Association, once again ends the ad with Polis' congressional phone number, not his gubernatorial campaign contact information.

CLAIM: "Say you’re a regular family of four, making a combined salary of $75,000 a year. Thanks to recent tax cuts, you’ll save $1,800 a year."

VERDICT: This is true. It's even based on information reported by former 9NEWS political reporter Brandon Rittiman in December.

The President's tax plan, which passed Congress just before the end of the year makes several changes to the tax code, the first major changes since 1986. These are just a few:

  • Individual tax cuts through 2025
  • Doubles per-child tax credit to $2,000 through 2025
  • Doubles exemption for estate tax through 2025
  • Cuts corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent
  • Repeals penalty for not having health insurance

Based on the math of the individual tax cuts, a family of four in Colorado would save about $2,118 on the federal taxes, however their estimates state tax would increase $259. That's still an overall savings of $1,859.

CLAIM: "That could be 4 months of car payments – two months of daycare – or a family vacation to the Grand Canyon."

VERDICT: This depends on how thrifty you are. The ad actually could have made this sound a lot worse for families.

Based on a 2017 report by Edmunds on car leases, $1,800 could pay for a vehicle for more than four months. A Honda Civic could be leased for an average of $266, which means $1,800 would cover 6-7 months. Same with a Toyota Camry at $282 per month. A purchased Nissan Rogue at $441 per month or a leased Ford F-150 at $470 per month would fit the ad's claim of four months.

Depending on how many kids or which daycare, parents can choose if that dollar amount is accurate for them.

I don't know about you, but I bank on being a deal finder. I bet I could get a family of four to the Grand Canyon for cheaper than $1,800.

But I digress and move on with the meat of the ad.

CLAIM: "But Congressman Jared Polis wants to take away your tax cut."

VERDICT: Needs context.

The TV ad has no citation on the screen, but we asked State Solutions for supporting information. The group pointed to Polis' vote on the President's tax plan in December.

Polis voted no, along with the other two Democratic members of Colorado's delegation (DeGette and Perlmutter). All four Republican representatives (Tipton, Buck, Lamborn and Coffman) voted in favor of the bill that passed the House 224-201. It previously passed the Senate 51-48.

After his vote, Polis posted a news release on his Congressional website an explanation.

"The plan is expected to increase the national debt by over $1.5 trillion and raise taxes for many," the release said.

At the time, that number of $1.5 trillion was true. Since then, the Congressional Budget Office, which crunches numbers for Congress, has updated that dollar amount to $1.8 trillion over 10 years (SLIDE 20 of the link).

The second part of what Polis wrote about the plan raising taxes for many is not true, yet.

Analysis done by the Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation show that if the individual tax increases are allowed to expire after 2025, then individuals would end up paying more in taxes after 2026 versus if the tax plan were never signed into law.

Polis has also sponsored a bill to repeal the President's tax plan and instead forgive federal student loans.

BOTTOM LINE: For the second time, it's not clear if this ad is attacking Polis the Congressman or Polis the gubernatorial candidate. It's true that families of four who make a combined $75,000 would save $1,800 in the initial stages of the President's tax plan. The claim that Polis wants to take it away from those families is misleading when taken without context. He didn't support the plan, so individuals would not have that savings if it didn't pass. His plan to repeal the tax plan and instead forgive federal loans could benefit a similar slice of the population. The savings to an individual would depend on the amount of the loan. Ultimately, Polis is running for Governor. As Governor, he would no longer have any vote or control on tax plans decided by Congress.

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