Was Thompson's claim of job creation true? - abc27 WHTM

Was Thompson's claim of job creation true?

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Do the numbers match her words? It was a lingering question after Mayor Linda Thompson touted economic success during Thursday night's Harrisburg Hope mayoral debate.

A woman named Rebecca posed this question to each mayoral candidate: "What exactly will you do to attract and retain highly qualified professional staff to redefine our city's image?"

Candidates Nevin Mindlin, Eric Papenfuse, and Lewis Butts responded before Thompson. In her turn, Thompson defended her current staff and said "smart" and "professional" people surround her.

Thompson then made it very clear she prides herself on being a firm leader.

"I don't have time for wimpy, whiney people," she said. "We got big things to do."

Fifty-one seconds of Thompson's one-minute response focused on her current staff and relationships. Thompson then used the remaining nine seconds to say: "We're open for business … 1,674 new businesses were started under my leadership. 1,234 jobs was created."

Thompson's time then expired and the moderator moved on to the next question, but several people wondered if the numbers she gave are accurate.

According to records from the Harrisburg Tax and Enforcement Office, there have been a total of 1,863 new business accounts or business licenses issued since Thompson took office; 682 in 2010, 558 in 2011, 518 in 2012, and 105 so far in 2013.

The city also recorded the addition of 856 full-time and 591 part-time employees since late 2010; a total of 1,442 jobs.

Some have pointed out the numbers may not have been inaccurate, rather misleading.

Thompson would not comment Friday, citing campaign laws that do not allow her to discuss her campaign on the city's time. 

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