Fact check: The gubernatorial debate

With charges flying in Thursday night’s debate, The Sacramento Bee did the fact-checking and analyzed the claims:

Brown and the teachers’ union

Kashkari’s claim: Brown appealed a court ruling that found the state’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional because he is beholden to the California Teachers Association, a major donor.

The truth: Brown announced last week that he was appealing a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that California’s rules for teacher tenure and dismissal deprive students of their constitutional right to a quality education by keeping inferior teachers in classrooms.

In a legal filing in the case, Vergara v. California, lawyers for the state complained the court declined to detail the legal basis for its ruling and that “changes of this magnitude, as a matter of law and policy, require appellate review.”

It is true that the CTA gained broader influence in state politics after Brown, when he was governor before, signed the Rodda Act in 1975, requiring school districts to engage in collective bargaining. The CTA spent millions of dollars helping Brown win election in 2010 and remains a major supporter.

Yet despite their generally favorable relationship, Brown has irritated the union in the past with his advocacy for charter schools. He started two charter schools while mayor of Oakland and lobbied against legislation to unionize charter school teachers.

Kashkari’s finances

Brown’s claim: Kashkari benefited financially from Wall Street excesses.

The truth: Kashkari, a former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. Treasury Department official, estimated his net worth at less than $5 million before he spent about $2 million of his own money in the primary election.

It is unclear whether he is wealthier than Brown. Despite the governor’s reputation for frugality, he and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, own more than $1 million in stock in Jack in the Box, the fast-food company, and Brown reported another interest worth more than $1 million in Madison Park Holdings Inc., a developer and real estate manager. Brown has not said how large those investments are, and he has smaller interests including stock in Health Fusion Inc., a medical office software company, and Gap Inc., where Gust Brown was once an executive.

Kashkari has volunteered to release tax returns for as many years as Brown will, a challenge Brown has avoided.

Brown and gas prices

Kashkari’s claim: Brown is allowing gas prices to increase to fund wasteful spending.

The truth: Oil industry groups are pressing Brown to delay expanding California’s cap-and-trade program to vehicle fuels in 2015 – a step they say will result in higher gas prices.

The carbon market is the centerpiece of Assembly Bill 32, which requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Brown supports the 2006 law, which was enacted long before he was governor – and utilities and big industrial polluters have been required to reduce emissions or buy allowances since 2012.

The Brown administration expects to generate about $550 million in proceeds from carbon auctions this budget year. Funds are earmarked for high-speed rail and other projects.

California jobs

Brown’s claim: California has added more than 1.4 million jobs since 2011.

The truth: The economy has been improving since January 2011, the month Brown took office. The state Employment Development Department reported total non-farm jobs in July at about 15.5 million, more than 1 million jobs more than the 14.3 million in January 2011.

California poverty

Kashkari’s claim: California is No. 1 in poverty.

The truth: California’s poverty rate is the nation’s highest when using an alternative calculation that includes the cost of living. Using this formula, the U.S. Census Bureau in November reported a poverty rate in California of 23.8 percent. By the Census Bureau’s traditional calculation, which does not include cost of living, California’s poverty rate is 16.5 percent. That is slightly higher than the national rate, but more than a dozen states suffer higher poverty rates when using this formula.

Kashkari’s tax plans

Brown’s claim: Kashkari wants to give tax breaks to rich people.

The truth: Kashkari has said taxes in California are too high, but he has not proposed reducing income taxes for people in any income bracket. His jobs plan includes tax breaks for companies that move to California or open new manufacturing facilities here. He would give a 10-year tax exemption to out-of-state companies that bring at least 100 new jobs to California.