New Senate ad attacks Tillis on education funding

Posted by Renee Schoof on June 30, 2014 

An outside group supporting U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election will run a new TV ad starting Monday that criticizes her rival House Speaker Thom Tillis for the state legislature’s cuts to education.

The ad says that Tillis gave no pay raises to teachers, forced them to pay more out of pocket for classroom supplies and eliminated more than 9,000 classroom jobs.

The Senate Majority PAC spent more than $800,000 on the ad, which will show on both broadcast and cable stations across the state over 13 days, said the group’s spokesman, Ty Matsdorf.

The ad appears as disagreements have popped up between the state House and Senate over how to make changes to the two-year budget that was approved last year. Tillis and Gov. Pat McCrory want a mini budget bill that would give teachers a 5 percent raise. Senate Republicans say it would create an unsustainable budget that wouldn’t cover the cost of the state’s Medicaid program.

“After blindly toeing the Tea Party line for the last year, Thom Tillis is trying to use political smoke and mirrors to convince voters that he isn’t as reckless as his record would show. The most egregious example is his recent budget gimmicks,” Matsdorf said.

North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation in teacher pay. The two-year budget that the Republican-controlled legislature passed last year cut funding for education by more than $480 million over 2013 and 2014.

The ad also points out that Tillis protected tax breaks to yacht owners. That’s a reference to the legislature’s decision to preserve a sales tax cap of $1,500 on yachts and jets, a provision that cost the state $10 million a year in lost revenue.

In the ad, a teacher leads children up to a yacht. Someone on it asks, “Can I help you?”

“Our classroom is too small. I thought we could use your yacht?” the teacher replies.

The Senate Majority PAC is a Democratic super PAC run by strategists formerly affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. As of June, it had spent more than $6.6 million supporting Hagan and opposing Tillis, according to OpenSecrets.org.

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