"Fooled Us" ad

The Republican Governors Association’s Right Direction PAC’s “Fool Us” ad makes several claims against Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.

3 Investigates looked into those claims, then gave the advertisement a Truth Test letter grade.

Claim #1

The ad asserts that as governor, Edwards fooled Louisianans by raising taxes, when he said he wouldn't.

It shows footage of Edwards looking into the camera, saying, "We're not gonna look at raising taxes."

This is true. Edwards made that remark. The Louisiana Legislature raised the state sales tax from four percent to five percent in 2016, and Edwards signed off on it as governor.

Claim #2

The ad claims the governor implemented the largest tax hike in Louisiana history. It does not mention a source for this claim.

This is false. According to the Louisiana Department of Revenue, since a sales tax was first imposed in 1936 as a two-percent luxury tax, it decreased to one percent, then increased by one percent several times over the years. This means that each one-percent increase was larger by percentage than the one green-lit by Edwards. Then in 2018, the sales tax was lowered to 4.45 percent, which the governor also signed off on.

While many Louisianans may have seen state income taxes go up, that has nothing to do with anything the governor or legislature did. It's actually the result of federal tax cuts implemented in 2017, allowing for fewer deductions on state returns.

Claim #3

The ad claims that Louisiana is the only state in the nation that’s losing jobs.

This is true. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana lost one tenth of one percent of its jobs over the past year. This amounts to about 1,000 jobs overall. The data set shows that all other states added jobs during the same period of time.

BLS statisticians said the point-one percent decrease in jobs is not statistically significant.

Claim #4

The ad asserts that under Edwards, "thousands of jobs (were) lost."

This is misleading. The ad cites a May 2019 article in the Lafourche Gazette, pointing thousands of jobs lost in south Louisiana's oil and gas sector. The article says those jobs have been declining since 2014, before Edwards became governor. The same article also said Louisiana’s unemployment rate had decreased to 3.5 percent.

Before Louisiana lost roughly 1,000 jobs overall in the past year, BLS data shows the state gained jobs the previous year at a rate of eight-tenths of one percent.

Truth Test Grade: C, because this ad contains true, false and misleading information.

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