Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Truth-O-Meter hands out False, True rulings on weekend claims

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, and other Democratic lawmakers, talk about the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Truth-O-Meter landed on opposite ends of the dial in weekend claims about New Jersey geography, tolls and taxes.

In case you missed it, former state Sen. Raymond Bateman received a False on Sunday for claiming parts of southern New Jersey once fell below the Mason-Dixon Line, while Assemblyman John Wisniewski on Monday received a True for claiming that some New Jerseyans pay more in tolls commuting to New York than they do in state income taxes.

Bateman claim

Bateman, a Republican, made his claim about Cape May, Cumberland, Salem and parts of Atlantic counties in an April 9 opinion piece published on DailyRecord.com. The column focused on the split between northern and southern New Jersey in light of the debate over merging Rutgers-Camden with Rowan University.

PolitiFact New Jersey found that the Mason-Dixon Line never entered New Jersey. It runs north along the border between Delaware and Maryland, and then west along the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. Experts told us and historical records show that the Mason-Dixon Line was originally meant to settle a border dispute between the colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Wisniewski claim

Wisniewski, a Democrat, said in a YouTube video posted April 13 that people earning under $100,000 and commuting daily to New York pay more in tolls to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey than to New Jersey in state income tax. A spokesman further clarified that Wisniewski’s statistic is based on a couple earning $80,000 a year, having two children, one partner commuting to work in New York, using E-ZPass and getting two weeks of vacation.

A certified public accountant, a professor of taxation and law, and a Wisniewski spokesman each provided us with examples confirming the assemblyman’s claim.

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

On the road

PolitiFact New Jersey Editor Caryn Shinske will speak Monday to students at Middlesex County College’s Center for Civic Engagment. To schedule Shinske to speak to your class or organization, call (973) 392-1503 or e-mail cshinske@starledger.com.