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For months, Gov. Scott Walker has said enacting a new state budget is so important that he would not announce whether he will run for president until one is in place.
Along the way, Walker has expressed confidence -- with fellow Republicans in control of both chambers of the Legislature -- that the two-year budget will be adopted by June 30, 2015.
That’s the end of the state’s fiscal year, though if lawmakers miss the deadline, spending simply continues at current levels. Unlike the federal government, there is no shutdown.
But in recent days, GOP lawmakers have struggled to reach agreement over transportation funding, a proposed new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks and other matters -- putting the June 30, 2015 deadline in jeopardy.
Walker, meanwhile, is eyeing July 13, 2015 as a potential presidential announcement date, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported.
And now Walker is saying his marking point is -- and has long been -- the end of the fiscal year, not the date work on the budget is completed.
Time to roll out the Flip-O-Meter, which tests whether a politician has changed position on an issue. Our requisite reminder: It does not measure whether any change is good or bad policy or politics, only whether the candidate has been consistent.
A recent chronology of Walker’s statements on the budget and a presidential announcement show he has repeatedly said any presidential announcement would only come after work on the budget is completed -- that is, the Legislature approves a budget and he signs it:
April 22, 2015: Walker says while visiting a business in Grand Chute, Wis.: "I won't make any decision until after the budget's complete."
May 7, 2015: The Associated Press reports Walker said he would make no announcement "of any kind" about running for president until after the state budget is signed.
May 17, 2015: Walker says on CBS’ "Face the Nation" he’ll announce whether he’s formally jumping into the race after he completes work on the state budget.
May 30, 2015: Campaigning in New Hampshire, Walker says: "For us, we have yet to make an announcement. We’ll do that after our budget is done, at the end of June."
June 3, 2015: Walker tells "Fox & Friends" about a 2016 presidential bid: "I haven't made an announcement yet and won't until after the budget's done at the end of this month."
Contrast that with what Walker told reporters June 18, 2015 in Ripon, Wis.
When asked about his 2016 announcement plans, Walker told reporters:
"For us, my goal has always been to get through the end of the budget year which ends June 30th. We'll see after that. Sometime in July is a pretty good time."
When we asked Walker campaign spokeswoman AshLee Strong about the change in Walker’s statements, she said by email: "As the governor has said, he is optimistic an agreement will be reached in the coming weeks. When we have a public announcement, we will let you know."
Walker has repeatedly said he would not make an announcement on whether he’ll run for president until after work is complete on the 2015-’17 state budget -- with his hope being that the budget would be in place by June 30, 2015, the end of the state’s fiscal year.
Now with that deadline in jeopardy, Walker is changing what he said. He claims he always wanted to merely get past the June 30, 2015 deadline before announcing his plans for 2016.
In other words, Walker no longer is saying a budget has to be in place before he’ll make his announcement. For that reversal of position, we give Walker a Full Flop.
To comment on this item, go to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s web page.
Email exchange, Gov. Scott Walker campaign spokeswoman AshLee Strong, June 19, 2015
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Will Scott Walker get in 2016 race before budget is done?" June 19, 2015
Associated Press, "Walker: No presidential announcement until budget is signed," May 7, 2015
Politico, "Scott Walker eyes 2016 announcement after state budget debate," May 17, 2015
Associated Press, "Governor Walking hedging on timing of presidential announcement," June 19, 2015
Appleton Post-Crescent, "Walker won’t disclose presidential ambitions until June," April 22, 2015
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