Small businesses, job creation and Tony Gurley's first ad
Gurley, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, says "Small business is where most jobs come from." We take a look at this common political claim.Posted — Updated
Tony Gurley, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, put his first television ad of the primary on the air today and said he plans to keep it there through May. 8.
The commercial is designed to introduce Gurley to voters and is therefore not exactly ripe for fact checking. Whether Gurley is "tough" and "a conservative" is something up to voters to decide.
However, one bit of sound did catch my attention. A young woman in the commercial says the Gurley "knows how to create jobs." Gurley then talks a bit about his experience as a small business owner -- he's a pharmacist.
"Small business is where most jobs come from," Gurley says in the ad.
Gurley told me that segment is meant to highlight his experience and was not based on a specific report or statistic.
"That's because of my business background and me personally having to sign the front side of paychecks," Gurley said.
Gurley will be one of a number of politicians we'll hear from this year talking about the need to keep government off the backs of small business. While this line has become something of conventional wisdom, is it right?
There are two different viewpoints on this, and they're both worth thinking about when you see this claim.
So can there be a flip side? Yes there can.
The differences may relate to how companies are classified by size. The new data classifies companies based on their maximum employment during a year. That minimizes how often companies change categories. A ski resort, with a lot of employees in the winter and only a handful in the summer, might be considered a large company based on its peak employment. In the other data, that company would change size every season. There are also minor differences in which workers are included and excluded.
None of this is to say that small businesses are to be ignored or that government policy should not be crafted in order to allow small businesses to thrive. And I don't think you'll find very many politicians arguing that policy ought to favor big businesses over smaller ones. One could well imagine a politician seizing on this information and saying that it's proof government isn't doing enough to help small businesses become big businesses.
However, all of this does point to the fact that economic reality is a lot more complex than typically reflected in campaign commercials. And that may be worth thinking about as voters see and hear more from candidates.
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