“Our governor cut $1.6B from education … now is putting back $638 million. That’s not progress, it’s an insult,” Mahlon Mitchell, Democratic candidate for governor and president of the state firefighters union, said in a tweet. In examining Mitchell’s claims, the Observatory found it is true that the current budget contains about $638 million more in K-12 spending compared to the previous year. But it is not 100 percent accurate to claim that Walker cut education spending by $1.6 billion in his first two-year budget.
Republican state senator and U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir posted on Facebook on March 6 that the residency rule in Milwaukee “prevented highly qualified teachers, police officers and firefighters from opting to work in the city” and that “removing these barriers helps Milwaukee retain and attract many valuable workers who were once discouraged by the residency rule.” The Observatory found this claim Unobservable.
A growing movement in the United States seeks to loosen regulations on having guns on school grounds and college campuses. A proposal in Wisconsin to allow more concealed carry license holders to do that died in the most recent legislative session.
In a Jan. 24 blog post, Democratic candidate and Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik said: “Wisconsinites will remember Walker’s failures when they go to work at that second, third or fourth job because their wages are so low that one job won’t cut it.” The Observatory checked this claim and found it to be true.
Amidst calls for tighter gun restrictions, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, addressed the notion of self-defense in a February claim, stating, “I certainly believe there are an awful lot of folks who are law-abiding who have done nothing wrong who could probably defend themselves.” The Observatory found his claim mostly false.
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout’s criticism of Wisconsin’s startup activity was Verified by The Observatory as the state has ranked last in the past three years in the Kauffman Foundation’s annual report on state startup activity.
In a recent fact-check conducted by The Observatory, we verified a claim from Mayor Paul Soglin that Madison “leads the nation as one of the worst cities for binge drinking.”
Since its inception in July 2011, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has offered nearly $2 billion worth of financial awards, such as tax credits, loans and grants, to support economic growth in the state. However, State Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, asserted in a statement on Feb. 9 that WEDC financial awards aren’t equally distributed throughout the state’s regions. When The Observatory ran the math, we found Bewley was right.
In response to Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State address in January, Milwaukee attorney and Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn released a statement claiming that “Wisconsin still lags behind the rest of the country in wage growth. Adjusted for inflation, median wages today are lower than they were before (Walker) was elected.” The Observatory rates this claim as Verified.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mahlon Mitchell claims that the state spends more on its prison system than on the University of Wisconsin. We find his claim to be true.
Even before he took office in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker rejected $810 million in federal stimulus funding to build a passenger rail route between Madison and Milwaukee. Now, as the state is spending millions to draw more millennials, experts say what these young people want is more trains — and other mass transit.