Reporter admits mistake about Brown and taxes
September 12, 2010
The former CNN reporter who said ex-Gov. Jerry Brown’s eight years as governor resulted in higher taxes now admits he made a mistake in his original 1992 article. [MercuryNews]
Republican candidate for governor Meg Whitman is running TV ads that include clips of former presidential candidate Bill Clinton citing Brooks Jackson’s reporting and calling Brown a liar. Eighteen years ago, Clinton and Brown were opponents in the Democrat presidential primary election.
Brown has asked Whitman to yank the ad because the information is incorrect. On Sept. 11, Brooks confirmed that he had made a mistake in his calculations.
“Brown is right,” Jackson wrote in a post on FactCheck.org, an influential nonpartisan website that he now runs. “I made a mistake in my 1992 report.”
Jackson’s 1992 article said that taxes went up during Brown’s two terms as California’s governor. However, Jackson used the wrong base year – fiscal year 1973-1974 – to make his comparison.
He should have used the last fiscal year Ronald Reagan controlled, 1974-1975. In Reagan’s last year in office, he oversaw huge tax increases.
Nevertheless, Jackson argues that the gist of his critique of Brown’s TV ads, which claims the former governor had reduced taxes for working people, is correct.
“I said that ‘inflation pushed state taxes up’ during Brown’s early years, ‘helping create a tax revolt,’” Jackson said. “‘Brown then supported cuts.’ All that remains true.
“But I was wrong when I said that “state taxes were still higher” during his last year than when he began,” Jackson added. “In fact, they were a bit lower.”
Nevertheless, Tucker Bounds, a Whitman spokesperson, said that their campaign will not pull the controversial ad.