Perry campaign fires back at Bachmann Super PAC

Michele Bachmann’s supporters fired the opening salvo in what could be a battle of wills between the Minnesota congresswoman and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but not Perry is already fighting back. 

The Perry campaign has responded to a pro-Bachmann Super PAC TV ad which strongly criticizes the governor on his spending record. Perry’s campaign charges that “100 percent of attacks in [the] ad are false.”

The Super PAC, called Keep Conservatives United (KCU), is responsible for the commercial. It claims that Perry doubled spending in his state over a decade, spent more than the state brings in, and is borrowing in record amounts to make up for the resulting deficits.

KCU, which is led by conservative activist Bob Harris, told USA Today the spot will air on Fox News, CNN and CNBC in Columbia, S.C. — a key battleground state in the 2012 GOP primaries.

But a spokesman for the Perry campaign said not a single assertion in the TV spot is true.

“Gov. Perry is a proven fiscal conservative, having cut taxes, signed six balanced budgets, and led Texas to become America’s top job-creating state,” said Ray Sullivan, communication director for RickPerry.org in a statement. “Congresswoman Bachmann’s front-group ad is patently and provably false. Unlike Washington, the Texas budget is balanced, does not run deficits and limits spending, even as Texas added jobs and population in big numbers.”

The campaign answered, with footnotes, each assertion KCU made in its ad shortly after it was made public Thursday. (RELATED: Role of Bachmann’s campaign in 2012 race still up in the air)

In response the claim that the Texas governor doubled spending, his campaign pointed out that state spending under Perry, once adjusted for inflation and population growth, is 6 percent lower than when he took office.

“In unadjusted amounts, state spending is $80.5 billion for the 2012-13 biennium compared to $55.7 billion for the 2000-01 biennium. Texas’ population growth plus inflation since 2001 is 54 percent,” the campaign explained. “The current Texas budget funds the state’s vital needs by operating within available revenues and providing tax cuts for small businesses. Gov. Perry is the only Texas governor since World War II to cut state (general revenue) spending.”

With regard to out-spending revenue, the campaign pointed out that Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has certified Texas’ budget as balanced, with about $6.5 billion set aside for a “Rainy Day Fund.” They also insist that every state budget under Perry has been balanced.

Texas does not have a deficit, says Perry’s campaign, which also adds that the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs) mentioned in the ad “is a cash-flow management tool.”

“These notes are sold every fiscal year to manage cash flow and to provide up-front payments to public schools. They are repaid within the fiscal year with tax revenue that comes in after the upfront school payments are made.”

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