Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Truth-O-Meter rates claims on Democratic tax hikes; $1B state budget surplus

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. earned a Half True for attributing job losses in the last decade to more than 115 tax hikes imposed by Democrats.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. earned a Half True for attributing job losses in the last decade to more than 115 tax hikes imposed by Democrats.

New Jersey Democrats raised some taxes during 10 years in control, but not as many as Republicans say, and Christie Whitman left the state in better financial shape than some would believe about her gubernatorial tenure, according to weekend rulings from the Truth-O-Meter.

In case you missed it, PolitiFact New Jersey gave a Half True ruling to a claim by state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. that Democrats raised taxes 115 times in 10 years, resulting in job losses across the state. The Truth-O-Meter ruled Mostly True on Whitman’s claim that she left the state with a $1.2 billion surplus and got spending under control during her tenure as governor.

Kean claim

The PolitiFact New Jersey team combed through more than 100 legislative bills and laws to check the Republicans’ math about the number of tax increases reportedly approved by Democrats. The Truth-O-Meter found that although Kean’s number was relatively accurate, not every bill was for a tax increase. Some were fee hikes, others were changes in tax policy. And New Jersey has lost jobs for lots of reasons, not simply because of taxes.

Whitman claim

New Jersey’s 50th governor said in an NJTV interview that her proudest accomplishment was leaving the state with a more than $1 billion surplus, balancing the budget and controlling spending. The Truth-O-Meter found that her surplus number is accurate. But we questioned how borrowing from the state’s pension funds to balance a tax cut and leaving a multibillion-dollar school construction bill for future administrations is controlling spending.

Check out the full stories on both claims at PolitiFactNJ.com and then join the conversations about these rulings and others from PolitiFact New Jersey at NJ.com.