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Take this quiz on our fact-checks in the Scott Walker-Mary Burke race
Democratic nominee Mary Burke and Republican Gov. Scott Walker posed for pictures with children while campaigning on Nov. 2, 2014, two days before Wisconsin's gubernatorial election. Democratic nominee Mary Burke and Republican Gov. Scott Walker posed for pictures with children while campaigning on Nov. 2, 2014, two days before Wisconsin's gubernatorial election.

Democratic nominee Mary Burke and Republican Gov. Scott Walker posed for pictures with children while campaigning on Nov. 2, 2014, two days before Wisconsin's gubernatorial election.

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher November 3, 2014

It's Nov. 4, 2014 -- Election Day.

Do you know where your candidates are?

Where they are on Politifact Wisconsin’s Truth-O-Meter, that is.

Over the past year, we've rated some 90 claims in the Wisconsin governor's race. Most of them were made by Republican Gov. Scott Walker or his Democratic challenger, Mary Burke (others were made by political parties or outside groups).

So, how closely have you followed what the two candidates have said?

Here are a dozen statements -- six by Burke and six by Walker -- that we’ve rated. Since statistics (from jobs to the state budget) dominated so much of the campaign, that’s what we focused on here.

For each statement, see if you can recall (or guess) what our rating was. Then go to the bottom of the article to see if you’re right.

To read each particular fact-check in its entirety, simply click on the rating.

The statements

  1. Walker: "The next state budget will begin with a surplus of over half a billion dollars -- $535 million to be exact."

  1. Burke: Under Walker’s policies, "the typical Wisconsin family has actually seen their real income drop by nearly $3,000 in the last four years."

  1. Walker: "Thanks to our reforms, the average family will have an extra $322 to spend."

  1. Burke: Under Walker, Wisconsin is "46th in the country in terms of new businesses started."

  1. Walker: Says his "Act 10 reforms" have "saved the taxpayers some $3 billion."

  1. Burke: Walker cut "taxes for the wealthiest" and raised taxes "on 140,000 Wisconsin families."

  1. Walker: "When Jim Doyle was governor and Mary Burke was commerce secretary," Wisconsin saw "billions in middle-class tax hikes on nursing home beds, gas, phones and garbage."

  1. Burke: Job creation has gotten worse each year that Walker has been governor.

  1. Walker: Figures for September 2014’s job growth in Wisconsin mark the "largest private-sector job creation we've had in the month of September in more than a decade."

  1. Burke: Walker cut funding to local governments, contributing to the "second-largest increase in violent crime" in the Midwest.   

  1. Walker: "We in this state saw more job creation in the last three years since I've been governor than you saw in the whole eight years of Doyle’s time as governor."

  1. Burke: "The nation as a whole has created jobs at a rate that is two times the rate that we have created jobs here" under Walker.

The ratings

  1. False. That rosy number flies in the face of the official estimate that use a long-established method used by members of both parties, and the governor’s budget office. The state ended the year from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 in the black by $517 million -- but a the Legislative Fiscal Bureau is projecting a shortfall, often termed a structural deficit, of $1.8 billion heading into the 2015-’17 budget.

  1. Mostly False. While median household income in Wisconsin has fallen $2,743 in four years, most of the drop occurred before Walker took office in 2011.

  1. Mostly True: Using some solid sources, the governor accurately pegged the combined estimated savings for a median-income family from his income- and property-tax cuts. The claim needs clarification, though, because not every average family is in line to receive a cut of that size, particularly if they are not property owners.

  1. Mostly True: Wisconsin actually ties for 45th in the well-known Kauffman index, in terms of new business owners in their first month of significant business activity.

  1. Mostly True: Requiring most state and local government employees to contribute more to their pensions has saved public employers more than $3 billion. Those costs haven’t simply been eliminated, however. They’ve been taken on by public employees.

  1. Half True: Walker cut taxes for wealthier residents and raised taxes for people on the lower end of the scale. But he also made tax cuts that applied across the board.

  1. False: As a cabinet secretary, Burke would have had some impact on one of Doyle’s budgets. But proposed new taxes and fees in the 2007-’09 state budget totalled $366 million on nursing homes, gas, garbage and phones, not "billions." And the tally was far less in the final version of the budget Doyle signed.

  1. False: The data shows that’s not the case -- it’s been an up-and-down performance. And employers have continued to add jobs, albeit not at a strong pace.

  1. Mostly True: The September 2014 jobs report, which showed an increase of 8,400 jobs, was the best in the past 10 years for that month -- with the caveat that the latest year is preliminary. And preliminary monthly numbers are prone to wide swings.

  1. Half True: Walker did significantly reduce general-purpose shared revenue, which local governments use to help pay for a variety of functions, including law enforcement. And the increase in Wisconsin’s 2012 violent crime compared to the previous two years was higher than all but one other Midwestern state. But Burke didn’t provide evidence that the shared revenue cuts significantly reduced funding for local law enforcement, nor evidence that funding reductions necessarily lead to an increase in violent crime.

  1. Mostly True: Walker was right on the numbers that show Wisconsin did gain more jobs in his first three years as governor than Doyle did in his eight years. But Wisconsin consistently trailed the nation in job growth before the Great Recession triggered the second-term losses that dragged down Doyle’s tally.

  1. Half True: Wisconsin lags behind the nation significantly, but for the most part quite not as badly as Burke says, based on the last year and on results from most of Walker’s term.

Check out our series of articles looking at fact-checks in the governor's race -- on claims made by Burke, Walker and others -- by topic: 

Taxeseducationjobswages and incomebusiness growthhigher education and miscellaneous.

And please suggest statements that we should consider fact-checking (we especially appreciate links to the statements; we’ll keep your name confidential):

[email protected]



To comment on this item, go to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s web page.

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