Hood declares war

… against “silly, uninformed talking points repeated endlessly in North Carolina politics.” What would those be, exactly?

peer review protest

In an earlier column, I cited the example of the state’s unemployment rate. How many times have you heard that claim that North Carolina’s dramatic drop in unemployment is nothing more than a statistical mirage created by discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force? This claim is totally false. Even if you include workers who’ve stopped looking for jobs, the most recent federal data show that North Carolina has had the largest labor-market improvement in the United States over the past year.

Today’s example is even more egregious. How many times have you heard the claim that the 2013 tax reform bill enacted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory will result in a tax increase for 80 percent of North Carolinians?

The claim was ubiquitous during and after the tax-reform debate last year. Now that N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis is the Republican nominee against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, the claim is making the rounds again. But it was false in 2013 and remains false today.

In fact, the term “false” is a generous one. For months, I have labeled the claim “mathematically impossible,” citing a 2013 analysis by the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analysts and a 2014 analysis published by JLF. Now The Washington Post, hardly a creature of the vast right-wing conspiracy, has come up with another appropriate description of the “80 percent got a tax hike” claim: absurd.

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