Truth-O-Meter rules on abortion, tax increase claims
By Caryn Shinske
Published on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.
There have been more than 54 million abortions since 1973 and property taxes in New Jersey have increased 20 percent as a result of cuts to tax rebates, two lawmakers claimed recently.
In case you missed it, the Truth-O-Meter took on these claims this weekend, ruling Mostly True the abortion claim by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith on Sunday and Half True the tax claim by Assemblyman John McKeon on Monday.
The 4th District Republican gave a speech March 8 on the House floor opposing a new abortion proposal called "after-birth abortion" and stated that since 1973 -- the year the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision -- "well over 54 million babies have had abortion forced upon them." Smith’s number came from a report from the National Right to Life Committee, a group that opposes abortion. The committee’s total is based on data collected by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that advocates on issues of sexual and reproductive health.The institute told us it’s tracked about 49.3 million abortions through 2008. Assuming the annual total of 1.2 million abortions annually continued through 2011, the total would be near 53 million. That’s below Smith’s figure of "well over" 54 million abortions.
More than 100 readers weighed in on our story at NJ.com.
McKeon, an Essex County Democrat, claimed in a March 4 interview on My9 News’ "New Jersey Now" that Gov. Chris Christie’s $1 billion cut in tax rebates resulted in a 20 percent increase to property taxes. The problem is McKeon’s numbers were a bit inflated, the Truth-O-Meter found. First, cuts to the Homestead rebate since Christie signed the Fiscal Year 2011 budget totaled $660.6 million, not $1 billion. After that reduction, the average net property tax increased by about 20 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to data from the state Department of Community Affairs. But a DCA spokeswoman said the tax hike is inaccurate because Homestead rebates were not used in previous years to directly reduce property tax bills. Now, the rebate is given as a credit on property tax bills.
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On the road
PolitiFact New Jersey Editor Caryn Shinske will discuss the Truth-O-Meter with political science students on March 28 at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. To schedule Shinske to speak to your class or organization, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (973) 392-1503.
PolitiFact New Jersey, Chris Smith says more than 54 million abortions have been performed since U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, March 18, 2012
PolitiFact New Jersey, Chris Christie cut $1 billion in rebates, leading to 20 percent property tax hikes, assemblyman says, March 19, 2012
Researchers: Caryn Shinske
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