Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Arkansas' retirement rage, Pumpkin Festival terrorists, Scott Walker: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

A woman protesting Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 collective bargaining reform law was removed from a meeting of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance at the Wisconsin state Capitol in June 2011. Walker says the law has saved taxpayers $3 billion.
A woman protesting Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 collective bargaining reform law was removed from a meeting of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance at the Wisconsin state Capitol in June 2011. Walker says the law has saved taxpayers $3 billion.

Today's PolitiFact Oregon Roundup is nothing if not a "states' rights" sort of offering.

Claims emanating from Arkansas, Wisconsin, Florida, New Hampshire and Georgia are front and center. So let's get to it.

1. Raising the retirement rage in Arkansas

The contentious notion of raising the retirement age is adding heat to Arkansas' already toasty U.S. Senate race. It came up when Crossroads GPS, a Republican-aligned group, aired an ad saying that Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor has, in the past, suggested raising the age at which people could start drawing Social Security.

PolitiFact National's check showed that Pryor did address the topic in a 2011 interview, but that the ad in question actively edited away some important context. The claim was rated Mostly False.

2. Scott Walker bargains for taxpayers

In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is running for re-election, recently defended the Act 10 collective bargaining reform law, which trimmed union power and sliced take-home pay for most public workers. In standing behind the controversial act, Walker said it has already "saved the taxpayers some $3 billion."

The check, by PolitiFact Wisconsin, found that requiring most public workers to pitch in more for their pensions saved public employers more than $3 billion. In addition, there are more savings that haven't been fully tallied. "Those costs haven't simply been eliminated, however," the piece concluded. "They've been taken on by public employees, who are also taxpayers." Walker earned a Mostly True.

3. A claim that earns its flame

The Florida Republican Party, in the face of possibly health-insurance premium hikes next year, recently claimed that the blame lies with President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Obamacare, according to a state GOP Facebook post, won't let Florida regulate health insurance.

To the contrary, according to PolitiFact Florida's check, the ACA says states should regulate premiums if possible. Further, Republican politicians in the Sunshine State spearheaded the legal change that has led to regulatory woes. The ruling? The Florida GOP walked away with its collective pantaloons aflame.

4. John Oliver -- no laughing matter

Did police in Keene, New Hampshire cite terrorism threats to the city's Pumpkin

festival as a reason for applying for a BearCat, a military-grade armored personnel truck? Comedian John Oliver made just that allegation on his Sunday night show, Last Week Tonight.

Keene's mayor, according to PolitiFact New Hampshire, responded that the city had several reasons for seeking the vehicle, but Oliver was right in saying that the city cited the Pumpkin Festival as a possible target for terrorists. No joke – Oliver's claim was rated True.

5. Georgia Dems stumble

Democrats in Georgia recently weighed in on the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss. They claimed that Republican nominee David Perdue "made $1.7 million in just a few months steering one company toward bankruptcy," adding that Purdue led efforts to ship jobs overseas and made "tens of millions of dollars" heaping debt onto yet another firm.

PolitiFact Georgia found that the claim mischaracterizes how leveraged buyouts work. In addition, the story said, Perdue was not free to act unilaterally – he needed his board and shareholders to agree. The claim was rated Mostly False.

We will, in our next roundup, dolly the camera back a bit to catch a wider glimpse of what politicians and other prominent public figures are asserting these days. Still, today's offering of five claims from five states offers lots to talk about. Thoughts? Leave 'em here and let's get the conversation started.