The Wire

Wisconsin's Economy Is Struggling Under Gov. Walker, But AFP Has $866K To Tell You Otherwise

Scott Walker has long-been considered a darling of the Tea Party movement and a contender for the 2016 Republican nomination for president. But these days, things aren’t going so well for Walker, who has been tainted by scandals, and new polling shows him tied with Democratic contender Mary Burke in his reelection bid.

Cue Walker’s allies, the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity. AFP has already poured $10 million into supporting Walker’s extreme agenda in Wisconsin, just announced that they are spending nearly $900,000 on a new ad to help the embattled governor.

The ad, which champions Walker’s budget reform, is called “It’s Working!”

Only there’s one problem: It isn’t!

The speakers in the ad praise Walker for his “bold leadership” on budget reform, “keeping education dollars in the classroom,” and the fact that “Wisconsin’s getting back to work, too.” But just last week, it was reported that Wisconsin is set to spend $559 million more than it takes in next year, and job growth in the state continues languish in the bottom third, nationally. Scott Walker ran for governor promising to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term, but PolitiFact Wisconsin now says the current job growth pace “is not nearly enough to meet the goal.” And on top of all that, he implemented the biggest education cuts in Wisconsin history.

Yet another misleading ad from AFP, another poor economic record from a high-profile Republican governor (see Christie, Chris).

Background:

Wisconsin Was Projected To Run A $559 Million Deficit

Wisconsin Was Projected To Spend $559 Million More Out Of Its Main Account Than It Was Expected To Take In. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “For instance, before the release of these numbers, the state was already projected to spend $559 million more out of its main account next year than it has budgeted to take in.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/23/14]

Under Walker, Wisconsin Ranked 32nd In Job Creation Over Three Years

Wisconsin Was 32nd Among All States In Job Creation For The First Three Years Of Walker’s Administration. According to the Capital Times, “Still, the latest estimates from the BLS show Wisconsin added just 104,100 private sector jobs since Walker took office in January, 2011. That works out to a 4.4 percent increase in the number of jobs, 32nd among all states over the three-year period.” [Capital Times, 3/19/14]

Walker Lagged Behind On Fulfilling His Jobs Promise

Walker Promised To Create 250,000 Jobs In His First Term; Politifact Said The “Pace Is Not Nearly Enough To Meet The Goal.” According to Politifact Wisconsin, “Pace is not nearly enough to meet the goal: Wisconsin’s latest jobs report moved sharply in the wrong direction — especially when it comes to Gov. Scott Walker’s top campaign promise. The report continues a trajectory that suggests it will be virtually impossible for Walker to meet his promise of creating 250,000 private-sector jobs in his four-year term. This is the view of two economists who follow the state closely and two business leaders who advised then-candidate Walker to make the promise.” [Politifact Wisconsin, 5/21/14]

Walker Implemented The Largest Cuts To Education In Wisconsin’s History

Walker Cut $800 Million In State Aid To Schools. According to Bloomberg, “When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker championed a law restricting collective bargaining for most public employees, he gave school districts cost-cutting tools. He also took away something: $800 million in aid.” [Bloomberg, 2/2/12]

PolitiFact: True That “Walker Had Made The Biggest Cuts To Education In Wisconsin’s History.” According to PolitiFact, “State Democratic Party claim: The party sought to undercut Walker’s announcement on the surplus and tax cuts. It pointed out in a news release during his speech that Walker’s first budget cut nearly one billion dollars from public schools and our technical college system that provides critical job training programs. ‘That number is on target, we said in 2012 when rating True former gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Falk’s statement that Walker had made the biggest cuts to education in our state’s history.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/23/14]