AUSTIN – Deep-pocketed Democrats are once again weighing in on the Texas governor's race.
Even though it has no formal ties to Democrat Bill White, the Back-to-Basics Political Action Committee has spent months attacking his opponent, Gov. Rick Perry.
Its latest ad accuses Perry of being cozy with insurance companies and sticking you with the bill, beginning with a family sitting around their kitchen table, discussing their homeowner’s insurance premiums.
“Rick Perry just raised our insurance bill again,” they lament.
It’s the prelude to a barrage of nebulous claims.
“Under Rick Perry, Texas insurance companies have made over $14 billion in gross profits,” the ad states.
This claim is false, according to several independent accountants and the State Department of Insurance. Since 2001, Texans have paid more than $41 billion in insurance premiums and in that time, insurance companies have paid out nearly $27 billion to policy holders.
While that is a difference of $14 billion, accountants insist that is not an accurate measure of gross profits.
“Big insurance illegally put hundreds of thousands into Texas elections for Perry’s buddies,” the ad asserts.
KVUE gives this claim a rating of "false," because when asked, the back-to-basics political action committee could not provide proof.
The ad flashes the number of $839,500 in so-called illegal contributions from insurance companies.
The political action committee attempts to back up that claim by citing a list of corporate donors who gave money to the Texas Association of Business and the Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee.
“Perry pushed for a law that lets insurance companies raise homeowners rates without having to justify the increase,” the ad states. This claim needs clarification.
On June 11, 2003, Perry signed a Senate Bill into law, deregulating key parts of Texas' insurance market.
The law allows insurance companies to file proposed rate changes with the state; the state insurance commission decides whether the rate will be allowed to stand.
"Now Texas insurance rates are 75 percent higher than other states,” the ad claims.
This claim needs clarification, too.
The average American pays a premium of $822 for homeowners insurance. The average Texan pays $1,448.
While that is 75 percent more than the average, it does not represent a major increase in premiums, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.
In 2003, the average Texan paid $1,249 for a $150,000 home insurance policy. In 2008, the average Texan paid only $23 more for a policy valued at more than $200,000.
So wait... insurance rates went up 23 dollars even though home values rose by an average of 50 thousand dollars? This entire line of attack is a pointless personal vendetta from basically one trial lawyer against the companies he likes to sue so much...
Texans pay more than the national average on home insurance because we live in a state that gets hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, flooding, and other major weather events. Other states like Louisiana and Florida have rates right in line with Texas because they also have lots of risky weather...
Is it just me, or does this campaign need to just end so we can get on with this election, so we can have a conservative legislature and a conservative governor talking again about the kinds of conservative things that have made Texas the envy of the nation... and conservative reforms that will keep us on track to stay the best nation... errrr... state... in America.
Right now the only issues in the public consciousness and in the media are all these liberal issues... who cares about what trial lawyers think. They are throwing a lot of money down this election hole, but trial lawyers have only bought more antipathy toward themselves when session gets here. Let's get on with real issues. I can't wait for all the new conservatives in the legislature to crush the trial lawyers and teach them a lesson... and for these stupid issues framed in a liberal slant to take a back seat again. This time I don't see Democrats running the show through a puppet Republican speaker either...