Republican Governors Association ad, “Record.”
Sponsor: The Republican Governors Association, which is trying to help GOP candidate Pat McCrory get elected.
Context: This is the second ad that tries to closely link Democratic candidate Walter Dalton to Gov. Bev Perdue, one of the most unpopular governors in the country according to polls. It repeats many claims in the RGA’s earlier ad.
Claim: “Dalton has consistently voted to increase taxes. Higher taxes on small businesses. Higher taxes on working families.”
Context: The RGA cites a number of Dalton votes to increase taxes while he served in the state Senate. He voted in 2002 to raise taxes on certain LLCs, in 2003 to extend a half-cent sales tax, in 2005 to increase the cigarette tax from 5 cents per pack to 30 cents per pack and to increase the tax on other tobacco products from 2 percent to 3 percent, and in 2007 made a quarter-cent sales tax set to expire, permanent.
But the RGA does not note when Dalton voted to cut taxes. He voted in 1997-98 to eliminate the sales tax on food.
In 2001, he voted to eliminate the marriage penalty. In 2006, he voted for a budget that created a tax deduction for a college savings plan and in 2006 and 2007, he voted to cap the gas tax.
Ruling: To say he consistently voted for tax increases is an exaggeration.
Claim: “The Dalton-Perdue 15 percent sales tax increase will kill 8,000 jobs.”
Context: Dalton supports a proposal by Perdue to raise the sales tax by three-quarters of a cent to raise $850 million a year, which she says is needed to restore cuts made in education. That figures to about a 15.7 percent increase, although it varies in communities based on the size of the local sales tax.
As its basis for saying that the sales tax increase will kill 8,000 jobs, the RGA cites a study by the UNC Center for Competitive Economies at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. The study says a 1 cent reduction would create 11,700 private sector jobs. But the study did not address how many jobs would be lost with an increase in the sales tax.
Ruling: The job losses seem based on math by political consultants in Washington, not economists in Chapel Hill. There is little basis for this claim.
Claim: “Under Dalton-Perdue, North Carolina has the worst business taxes in the South.”
Context: For its source, the RGA cites The Tax Foundation, a conservative group in Washington, which this year rated North Carolina 44th in the country in business taxes. That was the lowest rating in the South.
But there is contrary evidence. Forbes Magazine in November rated North Carolina the third-best state in the country for business and careers behind Utah and Virginia. (Forbes’ breakdown: North Carolina ranked second in business costs, third in labor supply, 20th in economic climate, 15th in growth prospects, and 34th in quality of life.)
Ruling: Both sides can offer statistics to buttress their case.