“Year After Year”
Sponsor: Republican Governors Association
Claim: “Year after year Walter Dalton has raised taxes on families and businesses.”
Context: Dalton served as a state senator from 1997 until 2009, when he took office as lieutenant governor. For several years, he served as budget chairman. He voted for tax increases or tax extensions numerous times, mainly as part of the budgets passed by the Democratic majority.
During the 2001 recession, Dalton voted to raise the state sales tax from 4 percent to 4.5 percent, to authorize a half-cent local sales tax, to impose a 5 percent sales tax on satellite television service, to increase taxes on television services and to tax all telecommunications at 6 percent.
However, the tax on satellite TV was to bring it in line with taxes on cable. He voted to extend various taxes in 2002 and 2003, and in 2005 voted to increase the tax on telecommunications, home satellite television services, liquor, railway cars, voice mails and satellite radio. Some of these votes were to move a product or service into the sales tax rate, which resulted in a tax increase. A vote on business taxes was to close a loophole that allowed some limited liability corporations to avoid paying franchise tax.
What the ad doesn’t mention is that Dalton also voted for billions in tax cuts.
He voted in 1997 to eliminate the sales tax on food, in 2001 to eliminate the marriage penalty and to double the child tax credit, and in 2006 to create a tax deduction for the state’s college savings plan and to cap the gas tax in 2006 and 2007.
Ruling: He did vote to raise taxes but not every year he held office, and the ad distorts some of the votes.
Claim: “Under Dalton and Perdue, North Carolina has the worst business taxes in the South.”
Context: The RGA cites recent survey by The Tax Foundation, a respected conservative organization, that rated North Carolina’s business tax climate as 44th in the nation and the worst in the South. The Tax Foundation’s methodology assigns different weights to corporate, personal, sales unemployment insurance and property taxes to assess rank.
Other outside organizations have come to different conclusions. North Carolina was ranked third in the country among the best states for business by Forbes magazine, Site Selection magazine and Chief Executive Magazine – although they looked at a broad array of factors, not just taxes. North Carolina was ranked fourth in business climate by CNBC.
Ruling: The ad – as based on the Tax Foundation survey – is true but doesn’t tell the whole story.
Claim: “The Dalton-Perdue record: Higher taxes. Killing jobs.”
Context: The ad makes it sound as if there was a Perdue-Dalton administration, when in fact they were elected separately and the two political figures are not even particularly close. There was no such thing as a Dalton administration.
Ruling: Whether or not the taxes pushed through by Perdue killed jobs is a matter of opinion, not fact. South Carolina, which is governed by conservative Republicans – and which did not raise taxes – has the same unemployment rate as North Carolina.