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Politics / Issues

Politifact Dissects 'Marcophones," Advertising Job Claims


Have tax breaks for insurance companies created tens of thousands of new jobs in Florida? And while you may have heard the rumors about "Obama-phones",  what about "Marco-phones"? WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Angie Holan of to dispel these rumors.

First, about those jobs: took a look at a claim by the state's largest industry lobbying group that says a tax breaks for insurance companies created "40,000 jobs in just the last four years."

A TV ad stating just that is airing in the Tampa Bay area from Associated Industries of Florida. The group doesn't want the insurance industry to lose a tax break it has enjoyed for more than 30 years. Check it out:

Here's's ruling: AIF rolled out a big ad campaign to combat SB 1832, saying the insurance industry’s "working tax cut" created "over 40,000 new jobs in just the last four years." The problem is the number, which is cherry-picked and wrong. And even if the jobs number was right -- and again, it's not -- experts say the tax cut would only be one factor in a company's decision to expand operations in Florida.

We rate AIF's claim Pants on Fire!

Now, from jobs we go to the equally incendiary topic of border security:

There have been "Obamaphones," cell phones supposedly for people on welfare? Now there’s "Marcophones." It's a jab at U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who's been one of the main backers of legislation that would legalize immigrants who are in the country illegally. That bill would supposedly give cell phones - all at taxpayer expense - to immigrants who enter the U.S. on a work visa.

Rubio has taken to the "Twitterverse" these rumors, calling them "false & reckless."

The bill authorizes a program to "improve emergency communications in the Southwest Border region." It creates grants for people who can prove they work and live in the region and are "at greater risk of border violence due to the lack of cellular service at his or her residence or business and his or her proximity to the Southwest border."

The bill specifically mentions grants should be for satellite phones that "provide access to 911 service and are equipped with global positioning services."

After the blogosphere lit up with the rumor, Rubio said in a statement that the program was put forward in response to the death of an Arizona rancher, Robert Krentz. Intruders attacked Krentz on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border in 2010. His murder remains unsolved.

Here's's ruling on this:

Bloggers charge that new immigration legislation includes "a taxpayer funded cellular phone" for new immigrants. Their evidence is based on something else entirely: a public safety program aimed at beefing up border security. The bill includes grants aimed at helping American ranchers and others in remote locations along the border get satellite phone service so they can be in touch with authorities. And Rubio can point to a well-documented case in which a rancher was killed on his property, and authorities said better phone service would have made a difference in speeding up their response to the case.

We rate the claim False.

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