Democrat candidate for lieutenant governor, Yvonne Lewis Holley, has served in the North Carolina House of Representatives for four terms. A recent campaign ad touts Holley’s legislative record to promote her bid for lieutenant governor.
The ad’s claims of Holley’s voting history in the legislature are misleading.
You can watch the ad here for yourself. Here is a transcript of the section of the ad that deals with Holley’s legislative record:
“And as an effective state representative, Holley successfully worked across the aisle to help raise teacher pay and lower taxes for North Carolina families. During COVID, she helped pass the bill that resulted in more testing, protective equipment, and small business relief.”
The ad was paid for by Beyond Carbon Victory Fund (a group funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg) and states that it was not authorized by any candidate. The ad also does not cite which bills or votes they are referencing.
Let’s start with the part of the ad that is true.
“During COVID, she helped pass the bill that resulted in more testing, protective equipment, and small business relief.”
Holley was a co-sponsor on House Bill 1043, the 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act, making this claim unproblematic.
The remaining claims regarding Holley’s record seem to disregard the vast majority of her voting history.
“And as an effective state representative, Holley successfully worked across the aisle to help raise teacher pay and lower taxes for North Carolina families.”
Holley entered the legislature in 2013. Teachers in North Carolina have received six pay raises during that time, each passed in the state budget for that year. Rep. Holley voted against five of those budgets and cast a vote in favor of one of them. Additionally, Holley voted against a stand-alone teacher pay bill in 2019.
- Budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 – Voted against (Source)
- Budget for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 – Voted against (Source)
- Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 – Voted for (Source)
- Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 – Voted against (Source)
- Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 – Voted against (Source)
- Budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 – Voted against (Source)
- Mini-budget from 2019 raising teacher pay – Voted against (Source)
On the issue of tax cuts for North Carolina families, the evidence is just as contradictory.
The legislature passed major tax reform in 2013, Holley’s first year in the legislature. The reform package reduced the state’s personal and corporate income taxes and raised the standard deduction. This is the most obvious bill that “lowered taxes for North Carolina families” that has been passed by the legislature during Holley’s tenure.
Since the initial reforms, many of the additional lowering of tax rates or increasing of standard deductions have been done as part of the state’s budget package. As with teacher pay, Holley voted against these reforms when she voted against the budgets.
As a result, Holley voted against budgets that reduced taxes for North Carolina families in 2015 (p.421-22), 2017 (p.428), and 2019 (p. 362). Each of these budgets increased the standard deduction, while the 2015 and 2017 budgets also lowered the personal income tax rate.
As previously noted, Holley did vote for the 2016 state budget, which contained an additional increase of the state’s standard deduction for both single and married filers. This would be considered a tax reduction for working families, as the ad claims.
Out of seven opportunities to vote for increased teacher pay, Holley only voted for the bill in one case. On the major tax on North Carolina families – the personal income tax – Holley voted against lowering the tax burden four out of five times.
“Successfully worked across the aisle” on these issues may be in the eye of the beholder, but a look at Holley’s legislative record helps voters see the more complete picture and decide for themselves if the ad is presenting an accurate claim.