Scott on the Walk-O-Meter

Gov. Scott Walker giving his 2015 State of the State speech. His sixth such address is set for Jan. 19, 2016. (Mark Hoffman photo)
Gov. Scott Walker giving his 2015 State of the State speech. His sixth such address is set for Jan. 19, 2016. (Mark Hoffman photo)

In the days leading up to his State of the State speech on Jan. 19, 2016, Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a package of higher education initiatives, including two bills to provide more grants to college students.

A Democratic leader criticized the overall package as not doing enough for student loan borrowers.

But the two grant bills -- one specifically for technical college students and the other for students facing emergency financial situations -- led us to move the rating on Walker’s grants promise from Stalled to In the Works.

And with Walker announcing more initiatives in Tuesday night’s State of the State, we thought we’d take stock of how he has done on his other campaign promises.

Cue the Walk-O-Meter.

That meter tracks promises Walker made both during his 2010 and 2014 campaigns.

Here’s a breakdown of the ratings on all of them, as of Jan. 18, 2016:


Promise Kept

Promise is mostly

or completely fulfilled.




substantially less than original promise.


Promise Broken

Not fulfilled, possibly because of inaction by Walker or Legislature.



No movement on promise, perhaps because of

limitations on money, opposition from lawmakers or shift in priorities.


In the Works

Promise has been

proposed or being considered.


Not yet rated

Every promise begins at this level and retains this rating until evidence of progress or evidence promise has stalled.



And here’s a look at our other most recent ratings -- some of which we may revisit soon in the aftermath of Walker’s speech:

  • Increase availability of tuition tax credits for certain students -- Stalled.

The pledge was to grow the number of students "eligible for and benefitting from" the state’s tuition tax deduction.

  • Universal access to college courses -- Stalled.

The pledge was to expand course options "so no child, regardless of where they live or their income will be denied the same opportunity other students have to access college-level courses of their choosing."

The rating had been at Stalled, while Walker pursued his presidential campaign, but we move the rating after he suspended his campaign in September 2015.

  • Limit the time on public assistance for certain recipients -- Promise Kept.

Walker’s 2015-’17 state budget reduced the amount of time, from five years to four, a childless adult of working age can spend on the state's Medical Assistance program. And it reduced the amount of time, also from five years to four, a person could be in the Wisconsin Works, or W-2, program, the state's replacement for traditional welfare.

Walker is on track to meet his promise, but he still has another two-year budget to come, for 2017-’19, so it is too early to rule this a Promise Kept.

  • Support major increase in voucher school enrollment cap -- Promise Kept.

A statewide cap on the number of students that can attend private schools with public voucher money was eliminated with Walker’s 2015-’17 budget.