Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher’s supporters and critics alike want you to know about his voting record on taxes.

Here’s what supporters say. In a campaign mailer paid for by San Diegans for Nathan Fletcher, a political action committee separate from Fletcher’s campaign, supporters wrote that the assemblyman had:

Led the effort in the state legislature to pass a $1 billion tax CUT to bring over 144,000 new jobs to California by encouraging business to locate and hire workers in the state.

Here’s what critics say. In an op-ed published May 10 by U-T San Diego, former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock wrote:

Before his first term as an assemblyman was over, Fletcher not only voted for, but authored legislation raising taxes by an estimated $1 billion.

A campaign mailer paid for by the local Republican Party cited a similar figure:

In the State Assembly, Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher joined the liberal Democrats in voting for a $1 billion tax increase on homeowners and businesses.

All three statements refer to a budget package negotiated by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators in the Assembly last year. It aimed to end tax breaks for out-of-state businesses, lower personal income taxes and add tax breaks for small, in-state businesses.

Overall, the package aimed to be a revenue-neutral swap. The state would’ve increased taxes by $1 billion for out-of-state companies and lowered taxes by $1 billion for in-state companies. Proponents argued the shift would help promote the state’s business climate.

Fletcher, still a member of the Republican Party at the time, was credited for negotiating the deal with Brown, a Democrat, and the Assembly’s Democratic leadership. It passed the Assembly but later died in the Senate.

Though the package aimed to benefitting California businesses, whether it would’ve worked out that way is disputed. Conservative groups argued the net effect would’ve been a tax increase and had a negative effect on the economy.

We’ve determined all three statements are Barely True. Our definition for the category says the statement contains an element of truth but critical context is missing that may significantly alter the impression the statement leaves.

Fletcher’s supporters and critics accurately cited a legislative package that Fletcher helped create and voted for in the Assembly. But they also cherry picked part of the deal to cast him in a distorted light.

Fletcher didn’t only vote to cut taxes by $1 billion and he didn’t only vote to hike taxes by $1 billion. Had the statements acknowledged both aspects of the legislation, it may have changed the reader’s impression of Fletcher’s record on taxes.

To be clear, our rating is narrowly focused on the claims of raising and lowering taxes. We are not considering more tangential claims within the statements, such as the number of jobs the legislation would’ve impacted and whether the law would’ve increased taxes for homeowners.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

Keegan Kyle and Liam Dillon are news reporters for Voice of San Diego. Please contact them keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org and liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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