Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The High Five for March: jobs, guns, poverty

Republican Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's senior senator, cracked into our High Five last month when we evaluated his claim about gun control
Republican Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's senior senator, cracked into our High Five last month when we evaluated his claim about gun control

Democrat Mary Burke’s first campaign TV ad in the governor’s race contained a claim that earned her a Pants on Fire rating -- and the top spot on our list of the five most-clicked Truth-O-Meter items in March 2014.

Here’s our High Five ranking, based on page views:

1. Mary Burke says "unemployment’s up" under Walker

Actually, unemployment had dropped from 7.7 percent to 6.2 percent under Walker when we rated  this item.

Burke said she meant it was up since her time as state Commerce secretary, but the ad gave no indication she was making that comparison.

2. Sen. Ron Johnson and guns

Wisconsin’s senior U.S. senator said during a town hall meeting that even though Chicago has "the most stringent gun laws on the books," it still "has the highest murder rate" in the country.

We rated that Half True. Chicago does have some of the strictest gun-control laws, but is not number one among U.S. cities for the murder rate. Meanwhile, the evidence is mixed on whether stricter gun control is associated with fewer murders.

3. Rep. Paul Ryan’s remarks on poverty and inner-city residents

We looked at the Janesville Republican’s comments, which stirred controversy, in one of our  In Context features. Ryan spoke in a radio interview (pay wall) with national conservative talk show host Bill Bennett on March 12, 2014. That was about a week after the release of "The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later," a report by the House Budget Committee, which is chaired by Ryan.

4. Wisconsin Republican Party on Mary Burke’s fiscal record

We rated False a state GOP claim that "Burke's 2007-'09 state budget had a tax hike of $1.8 billion -- costing every man, woman and child in the state an extra $310."

The figures are basically on target, but the real target of the party’s claim was Burke. And to put a governor’s entire state budget on an appointed Cabinet secretary is a misfire.

5. We are Wisconsin on Gov. Scott Walker’s borrowing

Mostly False, we said of this union-backed group’s claim that Walker, with his plan to cut income and property taxes, was "Increasing the state deficit at a time when borrowing is already at record levels."

One more note.

PolitiFact Wisconsin readers continued to show strong interest in Walker’s promise to help create 250,000 additional private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

Our Walk-O-Meter updates track progress toward the governor’s goal.