Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Pants on Fire, Half True rulings issued on weekend Truth-O-Meter claims

This post has been making the rounds for years. This spring it popped back up on Facebook.
This post has been making the rounds for years. This spring it popped back up on Facebook.

The Truth-O-Meter took a skeptical view on weekend claims about the impact of a one-day gasoline boycott and ties between states without an income tax and job growth.

In case you missed it, the Truth-O-Meter on Sunday gave a Pants on Fire rating to a claim on Facebook about a proposed "gas out." On Monday, it rated Half True a claim by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce that states without an income tax saw more job growth in the past decade than the nation as a whole.

Facebook claim

A Facebook post making the rounds in late March noted that a one-day national boycott in 1997 on buying gasoline resulted in a price drop of 30 cents per gallon overnight – and suggested that readers do the same boycott for this past Sunday.  

A one-day gas boycott would remove billions of dollars from the pockets of oil companies "so please do not go to the gas station on April 15th and let's try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for at least one day," the post stated.

Trouble is, the ‘boycott’ back in 1997, and subsequent pushes for ones in 1999 and 2000, had very little support and no major pricing fluctuations, PolitiFact New Jersey found.

An analyst with GasBuddy.com told us federal data most likely would have caught a dramatic swing in prices if the claim about a sudden 30-cent per gallon drop occurred.

This claim didn’t pass the sniff test.

DeCroce claim

Could an across-the-board income tax cut, as proposed by Gov. Chris Christie, really mean more jobs for New Jersey? That’s the premise of a claim DeCroce made in an April 8 opinion column published in the Gloucester County Times.

DeCroce, a Republican representing parts of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties, explained that nine states without an income tax grew jobs from 2001 to 2010 and reasoned that the Garden State could do the same if the tax burden is reduced.

But job growth isn’t that simple, the Truth-O-Meter found.

First, two of the nine states without income taxes actually lost jobs from 2001 to 2010, according to federal labor data. Second, two experts told us a variety of factors – not just lack of an income tax – affect job growth.

To comment on this story, go to NJ.com.

Truth-O-Meter travels

The Truth-O-Meter is going on the road again. PolitiFact New Jersey Editor Caryn Shinske will speak April 30 with students at Middlesex County College’s Center for Civic Engagement. To schedule Shinske to speak at your school or to your organization, call (973) 392-1503 or e-mail cshinske@starledger.com.