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DJ – Davis, McCullough take off...

DJ – Davis, McCullough take off the gloves

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 5, 2008

Davis, McCullough take off the gloves

But Davis and McCullough have gone on the attack. Here’s a look at the facts behind the ads, starting with McCullough’s:

– McCULLOUGH AD: “Do we need another congressman who doesn’t know where he stands? Take Greg Davis. When he ran for Legislature, he refused to run as a Republican, even ran against a Republican candidate.”

From his campaign literature, Davis is singing a conservative song, but McCullough’s ad attempts to plant doubt among Republican primary voters.

The Mississippi Blue Book shows that when Davis ran for the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1991, he did so as an independent in a nonpartisan special election, where all other candidates had no party affiliation. He was still an independent when he ran unopposed for re-election in 1995.

In 1997 when he ran for mayor, he did so as a Republican in a race with other candidates, some Republicans. But the ad is talking about his legislative elections, not this one.

Davis campaign aide Ted Prill said that while Davis was an independent, he voted in every GOP primary since 1988.

– McCULLOUGH AD: “Davis increased property taxes. Increased spending, including his own salary.”

Southaven property taxes have increased four times since Davis became mayor. Statistics also show Southaven’s population increased from 26,774 in 1998 to 43,795 in 2007. The city’s budget increased from $21 million in 1998 to $74.3 million in 2007. The increase in 2002 received 72 percent approval from voters to do away with residential garbage pickup fee and put the 6-mill increase on property taxes, effecting about a 50 percent cost reduction, said City Administrator Chris Wilson. Other increases were for a new library and 10 new policemen, as well as a two-phased mega-recreational facility.

Davis could not increase his own salary, which by law is the responsibility of the Board of Aldermen.

The McCullough campaign said he could have vetoed the budget to prevent the pay increase from taking effect.

– McCULLOUGH AD: Glenn McCullough balanced budgets without raising taxes.

When McCullough became Tupelo mayor in July 1997, the city’s budget was $24.2 million. During his three budget years he was in office, the budget totals were $25.9 million (1998), $23 million (1999) and $26.8 million (2000).

Daily Journal accounts show a “very tight” budget for Fiscal Year 1999 with no property tax increase, but a slight increase in garbage fees. For 2000, the city’s general tax rate stayed the same but included a 6.73 millage increase for a $29.5 million voter-approved school bond issue. Residential garbage rates also went up 75 cents a month.

– McCULLOUGH AD: “Glenn McCullough, conservative Republican his entire career.”

Yes, McCullough has been a Republican all through his adult life, his aide Brad Davis said.

Greg Davis, an engineer by training, has been a Republican since his mayoral run in 1997.

Then, there’s Davis’ new TV ad, which went up Tuesday.

– DAVIS AD: The ad accuses McCullough of fiscal irresponsibility as chairman of TVA.

When McCullough was chairman of TVA, stories ran about his expense account and his frequent use of TVA’s aircraft to travel around TVA’s region, as well as back and forth to home in Tupelo from Knoxville, Tenn., where TVA is headquartered.

When Democrat President Bill Clinton appointed him to the TVA board in 1999 at the recommendation of Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran – George Bush later named him chairman – he had been Tupelo mayor a little over two years. He was TVA chairman from 2001 through May 2005.

When he left TVA in 2005, the board approved a record $7.9 billion budget with no electric rate increases, but in 2004 a 6.1 percent average rate increase was the first since 1997, published reports stated.

In August 2004, McCullough and other TVA board members came under public fire for “excessive expenditures” for hospitality, the TVA watchdog group Southern Alliance for Clean Energy reported.

McCullough also was criticized personally for TVA’s spending $472,000 from 2000-2004 for his use of the company plane. He responded by saying he had no plans to move from Tupelo but would strive to reduce travel costs and limit his use of the TVA plane.

Tuesday, McCullough’s campaign aide Brad Davis insisted McCullough’s actions were in line with his responsibilities of traveling throughout the region on behalf of TVA.

“He could have lived in Knoxville,” Davis asserted, saying McCullough had chosen to live in Tupelo and travel back and forth to be with his wife and sons.

NE MS Daily Journal

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.