Fact check: Debate statements stand up
Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, Rep. Bill Faison and former Congressman Bob Etheridge threw out a lot of numbers and assertions during their debate on WRAL-TV Monday. Here's how their claims line up with the facts.Posted — Updated
Dalton and early colleges
"That would have been the beginning of the first big, statewide push," confirmed Vanessa Jeter, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Public instruction.
That said, the model wasn't completely new at the time. Individual school systems may have had similar programs before that statewide authorization came about. For example, Guilford County started its middle college program, which is similar in many aspects to early college programs, in 2001.
As for Dalton's involvement in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- education, that's a bit harder to pin down. However, STEM subjects were referenced in the 2003 early college bill. Dalton has been pushing state and business leaders to focus on STEM education as part of his jobs commission, and it is an idea he talks about frequently.
Drew Ware, Aldert Root's principal, said the school itself doesn't sponsor fundraisers, but there is an educational foundation associated with the school that does raise money. And some of that money, Ware said, does go to pay support staff.
"We have not used that extra money to add a class," Ware said. Rather, the foundation's funding helps pay for classroom-support personnel. For example, a technology specialist helps teach different classes and helps teachers with different information technology issues.
Ware confirmed that that the fundraising goal Etheridge talked about was in the ballpark of the foundation's goal for the year.
No new jobs
In that report, the authors wrote: "To further understand the magnitude of the job gap facing North Carolina, consider that the state ended 2011 with 11,700 fewer payroll jobs (-0.3 percent) than it had in December 1999 ... North Carolina has not recorded any net job growth over the past 12 years despite adding residents."
For further backup, we asked Mike Walden, an economics professor at North Carolina State University, to help us look at the claim.
He pointed to two different sets of numbers collected by the federal government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics "payroll survey" asks businesses about how many workers they have hired. In February of 2000, the state had 3,890,000 non-farm payroll jobs. In February of 3,962,400. That's a net gain of 72,400 jobs. Looking at a separate, smaller survey of households, which captures people working for themselves or for start-up companies, the state had 3,968,759 jobs in February of 2000. That number went up to 4,224,398 in tentative numbers from February of this year, a 255,639 job increase.
Now, both of those sets of numbers indicate some rise in the level of jobs in the state. However, Waldon says they don't indicate terribly robust growth in the state.
"In that 12-year span, we've had two recessions," Waldon said.
Faison actually shot low on the amount of population growth. According to U.S. Census figures, North Carolina had 9.5 million people in 2010, up from 7.8 million in 1998, which would be ballpark growth of 1.7 million.
One NC Job Creation
The numbers Dalton cited come from Department of Commerce news releases, such as a notice earlier this month noting that New Belgium Brewing, the third-largest craft brewer in the country, will build its East Coast brewery in Buncombe County. That project was awarded a $1 million grant from the One North Carolina fund. At the bottom of the news release announcing the project, Commerce Department officials wrote, "Through use of the One NC Fund, more than 60,000 jobs and $11 billion in investment have been created since 2001."
Those numbers are actually a bit out of date, said Tim Crowley, an assistant secretary at the Commerce Department. As of February, the exact numbers are 60,537 jobs created and $11.2 billion in investment. In this context, "investment" means money spent on real estate, equipment and upgrades to a property. Such investments add to the state's tax base.
One number that Dalton didn't cite: Those jobs and investments came at the cost of $105.8 million in One NC grant awards since 2004.
It is also worth noting that there is a huge philosophical argument over whether economic incentives actually create jobs or merely shift opportunities from one part of the economy to another.
"In 2005, 65 percent of NC 'C-corps' paid no income tax," Faison wrote. While "C-corporations" can vary, they are typically bigger companies in which the corporation itself is a taxpayer. Typically, smaller businesses organize as "S-corporations," under a different section of the tax code. So the statement doesn't apply to all businesses in North Carolina.
To back up this claim, Faison's jobs plan points to the 2009 N.C. Department of Revenue Biennial Tax Expenditure Report.
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