Working For You: Fact Checking the Gubernatorial Debate - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Working For You: Fact Checking the Gubernatorial Debate

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia -

13News is Working For You, fact checking many statements made by gubernatorial candidates following Tuesday nights debate.

"In the past five years, [workers compensation] rates have gone down by 60 percent," said Governor Earl Ray Tomblin during the debate. 

That statement is comes in somewhere between true and false. In 2006, worker compensation rates for employers were the highest in the nation. In that year, worker compensation was privatized, and the rates began to fall. A recent report by Insurance Journal (linked here) shows that workers compensation rates have dropped by 40 percent, not 60. Legislative staff estimates it somewhere "between the two." 

"We're 49th and 50th in every category that's good and first in everything that is bad," said challenger Bill Maloney. 

This statement is false. While Maloney's larger point was to say that the state ranks poorly in several categories, it is far from all measurements. West Virginia does rank 50th in many education categories, but ranks 44th in national test scores for 8th graders, according to an American Legislative Exchange Council report released earlier this year. 

"West Virginia has for many years had the title of having the lowest utility rates in the entire country," claimed Tomblin. 

This statement is true. 

Utility rates have risen from an average 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour to 10 cents per kilowatt hour in six years. Kentucky had comparable utility rates, but according to a study by the Edison Electric Institute, West Virginia did have the lowest rates. The largest culprit for increases to utility costs is environmental controls put in place for power companies. AEP Spokesman Phil Moye estimates they have invested $2 billion in environmental controls since 2006. 

"[West Virginia] has lost 80,000 manufacturing jobs, 30,000 mining jobs all on your watch," claimed Maloney at Tuesdays debate. 

This statement is true. 

To get this many job losses, you would have to look back to 2008 when Tomblin was a member of the state legislature and before he was governor.