Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Rounding up claims from the 2013 State of the State

Gov. Scott Walker delivers his 2013 State of the State address.
Gov. Scott Walker delivers his 2013 State of the State address.

During his State of the State speech on Jan. 15, 2013, Republican Gov. Scott Walker made a few statements that have already been tackled by PolitiFact Wisconsin.

So did Democratic leaders in their responses.

We are working on some claims from the speech and responses. Meanwhile, here’s a look at how those past statements fared when we looked at them:

Walker's speech

Pension system: Walker said Wisconsin is the only state whose pension system for government employees is 100 percent funded.

We rated that True. It’s slightly below 100 percent, but so close that a respected research organization rounds it up. And no other plan covering general state employees can make that claim.

Direction of state: Walker said 93 percent of employers surveyed in 2012 said Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, up from 10 percent in 2010.

We rated that Half True. Walker used 94 percent when he made the comparison in February 2012, but our analysis remains the same. The figures come from a small survey by one trade group and amount to a sample that is not reflective of the overall makeup of businesses in the state.

State nickname: Walker said Wisconsin's badger nickname comes from the nickname given to early settlers who were miners.

We rated that True. The dwelling habits of some early settlers who mined in Wisconsin are what gave the state it's badger nickname. Mining is a front-and-center as the Legislature considers a measure introduced Jan. 16, the day after Walker's speech that aims to make it easier to do iron ore mining.

Democratic responses

Senate Majority Leader Chris Larson of Milwaukee said only 38,000 jobs have been added in the past two years. He's essentially on the mark.

In our most recent monthly check on the Walk-O-Meter, a net of 37,000 jobs have been created since Walker took office, which is off the pace of his pledge to add 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term in January 2015. (The state’s monthly update for December 2012 comes out Jan. 17, 2013.)

Larson said that despite the level of unemployment in Wisconsin, 35,000 open positions have gone unfilled. PolitiFact Wisconsin has not rated that claim. But a January 2013 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel news article cited the figure in describing a lack of qualified job applicants in the state.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha said Wisconsin ranks 42nd in job creation. Another January 2013 news article in the Journal Sentinel reported the ranking, which came from federal government figures.