Fact-check look at 4 issues raised in debate for Democratic candidates for governor
Here’s a fact-check look at the July 12, 2018 debate for the Democratic candidates for governor.
These aren’t instant fact checks from the debate itself.
Rather, we’re tackling the debate based on four issues that were raised and previous fact checks we’ve done.
A primary on Aug. 14, 2018 will determine which of the eight Democrats will face Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the fall.
More on prisons than UW System
We found it’s Mostly True that in 2011 under Walker, Wisconsin for the first time spent "more on our prison system than we did" on the University of Wisconsin System.
That occurred with Walker’s first state budget, for 2011-’13, when he directed more state taxpayer dollars to the Department of Corrections than the UW System.
But it’s worth noting the eclipse was years in the making before Walker took office, and it’s worth noting that the UW System, with tuition and federal grants, has a much larger total budget than Corrections.
Untested rape kits
Untested rape kits — evidence in sexual assault cases that can be tested to find serial rapists or find leads on unsolved crimes — were raised in the debate.
It was Pants on Fire when Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel said in 2017 that there was no backlog of untested rape kits in Wisconsin. At the time, the state was on pace to take two years to test kits that had not yet been tested. And Schimel's own department had referred to a backlog when filing federal grant applications.
Dead-last in new businesses
This claim has been made in various ways. In 2017, we found it Half True that Wisconsin was "dead-last in creating new businesses" for "three years in a row."
Wisconsin ranked last in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 rankings from the respected nonprofit Kauffman Index on Startup Activity. But that index, while it takes into account what portion of a state’s businesses were created in a given year, also considers two other variables. Conversely, Wisconsin ranked between 29th and 34th for 2014 through 2016, according to the latest figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those rankings are based strictly on the percentage of a state’s business establishments that were created in each year.
Concern has been raised about whether the massive Foxconn manufacturing plant being built in Racine County is being exempted from environmental oversight. We found it Mostly False that Foxconn will not face any government oversight when it comes to wetlands protection laws.
(We’ve also done seven other Foxconn fact checks.)