Recently, the N&O published an editorial opposing the measure to lower the state’s constitutional cap on income taxes from the current 10% to 7%. There is much to criticize, but here I’ll focus on one point that is especially misleading.
The article claims that a lower tax cap would threaten school funding. This has been addressed elsewhere, but what was especially misleading is their citation of Civitas polling:
Most North Carolinians think our schools are underfunded; a recent poll by the conservative Civitas Institute showed that 72 percent of respondents thought North Carolina’s public schools don’t receive sufficient funding to properly educate children.
Thanks for citing our polls, but what the article leaves out is the fact that the majority of people have no idea how much funding NC schools actually receive.
Indeed, in the very next question of the poll the N&O cites, the question informs respondents that per-pupil spending averages roughly $9,100, and then asks them if that amount is sufficient. Once given actual facts, the number that said funding is insufficient drops to 56%.
That is not an insignificant change in opinion. Why did the N&O leave that out? You know why.
Indeed, in Civitas’ September poll, we found that 63% of respondents thought that NC spends less than $7,000 per student. In short, the majority of the public has no idea how much is spent on education – and most vastly underestimate what is spent. It is wholly irresponsible for the N&O to cite public agreement that public schools are underfunded while ignoring these facts.