Flint, Michigan, the city known for its contaminated water crisis, has something in common with Wisconsin — childhood lead poisoning. According to Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee, the proportion of children with elevated blood lead levels among Wisconsin’s children has risen close to those of Flint. The Observatory verified this claim.
Gov. Scott Walker announces a deal in July 2017 with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to build an LCD manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. At far left is Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn. Matt Flynn, one of Walker’s Democratic challengers for governor, says some of the state’s multi-billion taxpayer investment will flow to out-of-state companies. We check his claim.
Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, touting high school test results, said students in choice schools outperform their peers. We check out his claim.
“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.
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.
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.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has called for a moratorium on new liquor licenses downtown to reduce alcohol-related problems. He says Madison has a drinking problem. A national survey and local statistics show Soglin is right.