Governor McCrory is out with his first ad of this election year. You can watch it here:
Here’s a quick transcript:
North Carolina’s working again. Unemployment is down from our mountains to the coast. Families are paying less in taxes. We’ve helped seniors with medical bills. We’ve raised teacher pay. There's still work to do, but we have a Carolina Comeback for sure. We just don't always get the respect we earned. Well, there is one solution: keep pounding, Panthers, and have a super day. [Awkwardly throws football to human child.]
Let’s break this down line by line.
North Carolina’s working again. Unemployment is down from our mountains to the coast. This is sort of true! There’s no doubt unemployment is markedly down from the height of the recession.
That decline, however, has mostly tracked the national rate, which means it has less to do with any of McCrory’s governing skills than it does the nationwide recover. Worth noting: that December 2015 rate, 5.6 percent, is well above the national average, which today dipped to 4.9 percent. And the state’s unemployment rate is actually up year over year despite the (marginally) improving national economy. And, as the N&O reported last month, the state is only seeing above-average wages in five of its 100 counties, whereas 90 counties have average incomes more than 10 percent lower than the state average.
The lowest income North Carolinians pay over 70 percent more in taxes as a percent of their income compared to the state’s wealthiest residents, according to a new study released today by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. […] The lowest 20 percent of North Carolinians – earning less than $18,000 – pay 9.2 percent of their income in taxes, the study finds, compared to 5.3 percent for the top 1 percent of earners earning more than $376,000. […] North Carolina’s tax system is unfair, or regressive, because the lower one’s income, the higher one’s tax rate. This is in part because North Carolina, like most other states, relies more heavily on sales taxes to raise revenue and has a flat personal income tax that does not take into account a taxpayer’s ability to pay.
We’ve helped seniors with medical bills. Here he’s apparently referring to the reinstatement of the medical-expenses tax deduction. Of course, it was McCrory’s Republicans who eliminated that deduction in 2013 to pay for income tax cuts, so help is a relative word.