Mostly False
Walker
"The difference over the (previous) four years between where things were headed and where we brought them to over the last four years is a total of $816 in saved property tax money."

Scott Walker on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 in remarks to reporters

Scott Walker claims credit for $816 in property tax savings over "where things were headed"

Scott Walker began his second term as Wisconsin's governor on Jan. 5, 2015 after being given the oath of office by state Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

In November 2013, Gov. Scott Walker earned the seventh of his eight Pants on Fire ratings by saying that because of actions taken during his first term, "the typical Wisconsin homeowner will save approximately $680" in property taxes over four years.

We judged the statement to be not only inaccurate but ridiculous because the $680 wasn’t actual money saved. Rather, the figure was strictly based on a hypothetical scenario, which the governor didn’t disclose in making the claim.

More than a year later, as his second term approached, Walker toured the state to tout his property tax relief measures. And he made a similar claim.

"The difference over the last four years between where things were headed and where we brought them to over the last four years "is a total of $816 in saved property tax money," Walker said on Dec. 17, 2014, according to a La Crosse TV station.

Though his wording may have been a bit hard to follow, the governor was claiming an even larger savings in property taxes. But he was more careful to say he was comparing his four years as governor to the previous four years.

Let’s put that claim to the Truth-O-Meter.

Median property tax bills

Here are the annual property tax bills for a median-valued home, based on a statewide average tax rate, as estimated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

We compared the change in the final four years of Democrat Jim Doyle’s term with the four years of Walker’s first term.

 

Year

Amount

2006

$2,733

2007

$2,836

2008

$2,856

2009

$2,919

2010

$2,963

Change during Doyle’s second term -- 2010 vs 2006

+$230

2011

$2,953

2012

$2,943

2013

$2,922

2014

$2,822

Change during Walker’s first term -- 2014 vs 2010

-$141

So, the median property tax bill increased in each of the final four years that Doyle was governor, and has decreased in each of the four years under Walker.

But the total four-year savings under Walker is $141 -- not $816.

To reach that figure, Walker again uses a hypothetical.

Walker argues that had the median property tax bill continued to increase each year at the same pace it did under Doyle -- it would have been $69 larger in Walker’s first year, $140 larger in the second, $222 larger in the third and $385 in the fourth -- a total of $816 more, when the four years are combined.

As a math problem, that works.

But as we pointed out in rating Walker’s earlier property tax claim, he assumes that another governor, faced with the same state budget deficit he inherited, would have continued to allow local governments to raise property taxes at that 8 percent clip over an additional four years.

Maybe that would have happened. And maybe not.

Our rating

Walker said: "The difference over the (previous) four years between where things were headed and where we brought them to over the last four years is a total of $816 in saved property tax money."

But he is comparing real results -- property tax decreases during his four years as governor -- to hypothetical results -- how much higher property taxes would have been had they increased like they did during the previous four years under the previous governor.

The property taxes on a median-value property "were headed" toward being $816 higher over four years -- if the pace of increases had continued. But that’s a big if. And the actual four-year savings under Walker is only $141.

For a statement that contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, our rating is Mostly False.

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