This one was off from the start
On the campaign trail in June 2010, Gov. Scott Walker pledged he would voluntarily pay toward his state pension immediately upon taking office.
He made the promise as he rolled out a plan to require all employees of the state to contribute to their pension -- a plan that became part of his controversial 2011 budget-repair bill that also sharply curtailed collective bargaining rights for most public employees.
Walker was specific about his personal pension promise -- and the timing of how he would fulfill it.
"Walker will voluntarily pay the full employee contribution for his own pension immediately and propose a plan requiring all employees of the state to contribute their portion as well, saving nearly $180 million a year for the taxpayers,” his campaign said in a news release on June 17, 2010.
The release continued: "Currently, Wisconsin taxpayers foot the bill for both the employer and employee contributions for the pension benefit received by state employees and elected officials.”
This promise escaped our attention when we built the Walk-O-Meter, but it made news Oct. 14, 2011 when The Associated Press reported on the issue.
The AP was told by Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie that the governor did not start paying the full cost until August, when the state law he pushed required elected officials and other state employees to contribute more.
"Werwie did not have an explanation for why Walker didn't pay until the law forced him to,” the AP story said. "The law required Walker and other elected officials to make payments of 6.65 percent of their salary starting in August. That goes up to 7.05 next year.”
The AP said that had the governor paid 6.65 percent of his salary from the time he took office, it would have cost him $5,600 before the requirement kicked in.
Werwie emphasized that over four years, the required pension contribution will result in Walker paying $34,108.
But the promise was to start paying immediately.
We rate this one Promise Broken.
The Associated Press, "Walker Broke Campaign Pension Promise,” Oct. 14, 2011
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker slow to make good on pension campaign promise,” Oct. 14, 2011
Scott Walker campaign, news release, June 17, 2010