Monday, August 20, 2012

In fact, under Haslam there are 5,929 less state government positions than there were in 2008

Since Governor Haslam has been in office the number of state positions has steadily decreased. In fact, there are 5,929 fewer state government positions than there were in 2008.

Today I received the following email notification of a Facebook post:

Matt Collins
Matt Collins
They added over 10,000 new government jobs in TN!

Haslam + TN Republicans Grow TN Government! « Tennessee Campaign For Liberty
According to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total employment for all federal, state..
On the website the story linked to this story from the Nashville Business Journal blog which reported:
Government employment down, but not in Tennessee. 
Eric Snyder Assistant Managing Editor- Nashville Business Journal

Across the country, big government has gotten a bit smaller over the past year — but not in Tennessee.

According to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total employment for all federal, state and local government jobs dropped by 162,800 positions between the midpoints of 2011 and 2012, a decline of 0.7 percent.

Tennessee, however, added 10,800 government jobs, reaching 428,400 government positions. That growth — in both raw and percent change is the second-highest in the country, according to On Numbers, a Nashville Business Journal affiliate.
I have highlighted an important phrase in the above story. Matt Collins did not bother to report that part of the story and instead he left the impression that Governor Haslam had grown state government. 

I knew this could not be true. I have attended meeting where members of the Haslam administration had reported on their success in cutting state position and cutting taxes and the State budgets. I have also talked to state employees and read news reports about the cut in number of state positions.

I then emailed Beth Harwell, Speaker of the House and asked for a clarification and confirmation of what I knew. Below is her response and my email to her.  
From: Beth Harwell beth>
To: Rod Williams
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 3:57 PM
Subject: RE: Tennessee ranks second in the Nation in growth of government jobs?

I have shown your email to the Speaker, and thank you for emailing this information to our office. You are correct--the report includes government jobs on federal, state, and local levels. The number of state positions has steadily decreased, and I've included a chart that shows this decline over the last several years (to be exact, there are 5,929 less state government positions than there were in 2008). Governor Haslam, as well as Republicans in the legislature, promised to limit government. We've followed through on that promise, ensuring state government is as efficient and customer-friendly as possible. Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not break out the numbers, I can't be sure if the additions are in federal or local governments, but I know they are not from the state level--that allegation from the email is false. Further, and aside from state government jobs, we actually reduced our overall state budget (which was balanced) by 2 percent this year, while cutting taxes for all Tennesseans.
I appreciate your email on this matter, and I hope this information clears this up. If I can ever be of service to you in the future, feel free to contact me! 

Kara Owen
Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Policy
Office of the Speaker
Tennessee House of Representatives
Office: (615) 741-1975
Cell: (615) 812-5272
Room 19 Legislative Plaza

From: Rod Williams []
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 10:49 AM
To: Beth Harwell

Subject: Tennessee ranks second in the Nation in growth of government jobs?
Beth, there is a news report circulating that Tennessee ranks second in the Nation in growth of government jobs. The report does not differentiate between Federal, State or local.  It has been my understanding that Governor Haslam had reduced the number of State employee's.  Could you have someone respond to this inquiry and tell me the number of state employees there were when Governor Haslam took office and the number now. I would like to counter the claim that Haslam and Republicans have grown state government, if it is not true.

Thank you.
Rod Williams

The above misleading story posted by Collins has circulated not only on the Campaign for Liberty website, but on the Liberty on the Rocks email list and the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women Facebook page. Who know how many times this has been reposted? 

Lies seem to have a life of their own. Some people are inclined to always believe the worst and repeat it. If this was simply a mistaken reading of what was a sloppy story to begin with, then please be more careful in the future.  If this was a purposeful lie, then shame on you. Does the truth not matter?

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1 comment:

  1. The critical statistic is not the number of fewer positions. Someone should ask what total payroll was for each of those years. There may be fewer positions, but some Haslem appointee salaries are much higher than in 2008.