Says as Indiana governor, he has made "record investments in education."

Mike Pence on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 in a speech at the Republican National Convention


Mike Pence stretches claim of record education spending in Indiana at Republican convention

Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence addressed the Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 20. (Reuters video)

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence joked at his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention that most people don’t know who he is.

So he offered up his record as Indiana’s governor, an office he’s held since January 2013.

Pence claimed that Indiana has "the highest credit rating in the nation." In a separate fact-check, we rated that Mostly True. He also boasted that he oversaw "record investments in education."

"In my home state of Indiana, we prove every day that you can build a growing economy on balanced budgets, low taxes, even while making record investments in education and roads and health care," Pence said in his July 20 remarks.

We were curious whether Pence, currently in his third year as Indiana’s governor, really has passed "record investments in education."  

Well, it depends on how you count it. In raw dollars, Pence’s claim holds up. But when adjusted for inflation, education spending at its highest point under Pence is still lower than it was in 2010 and 2011, before Pence took office.

We got some help from Larry DeBoer, a professor of agricultural economics at Indiana’s Purdue University who has compiled state budget data.

Prior to Pence, Indiana education spending for K-12 and higher education combined peaked at $9.3 billion in 2011, according to DeBoer’s data. Not adjusting for inflation, education spending has surpassed that peak every year from 2014 on. Estimated spending in the current fiscal year tops $10 billion.

But adjusted for inflation, estimated spending for the current fiscal year is about 1.1 percent less than it was in 2011. The graph below shows raw dollar spending in blue and inflation-adjusted spending in red. (For calculating the inflation-adjusted spending, DeBoer used 1982-84 dollars according to the Consumer Price Index.)

While education spending under Pence is certainly on the rise, the pace of that increase proves not to be so dramatic when adjusted for inflation.

Also, the graph appears to show a huge jump in spending leading into 2010. DeBoer noted that this reflects a big change in the spending structure among the state and localities, so it’s not useful to compare education spending today to pre-2010.

One more way to put the state’s education spending in context is to look at its size compared with the Indiana economy. Education spending as a share of total Indiana income has been on a consistent decline since 2010, but it is becoming a bigger share of the state budget overall, DeBoer noted.

Our ruling

Pence said that as Indiana governor, he has made "record investments in education."

In raw dollars, Pence’s statement is accurate. However, when adjusted for inflation, education spending at its highest point under Pence is still lower than it was in 2010 and 2011, though only marginally so.

Pence’s statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details, so we rate it Half True.


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