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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Issue of the Week: Walker's Latest Distortions of the Truth

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Gov. Scott Walker, futilely arguing against a recall attempt that has the support of a million Wisconsinites, has just offered up his latest TV ad, which, like his previous ads, is full of lies. In "Promises Kept," Walker speaks directly to the camera and the viewer and tries his best to sound trustworthy and sincere. But his statements twist the truth:

  • "We promised to help employers create jobs. Today, Wisconsin's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since 2008." That is not the way to measure job creation. The way to measure job creation is to simply count the number of new jobs, but Walker won't do that for a good reason: Walker's job-creation record in the second half of 2011 is the worst in the country. While the nation as a whole is adding private-sector jobs, Wisconsin lost 27,700 private-sector jobs in the last six months of 2011, each month since Walker's budget has been in effect. Those job losses are wiping out the gains made in the first half of 2011.
  • "We balanced the budget without raising taxes." Again, Walker is twisting the truth. First of all, every governor balances the budget—it is mandated. But despite the fact that Walker used many of the same accounting tricks of other governors in the past, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) still estimated that the state would have a $143 million budget deficit in 2013, when the current biennial budget ends. The Walker administration itself told the federal government it would have a deficit so that it could kick people off of BadgerCare. And although Walker and Republican legislators cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, they raised taxes on low-wage workers and caused tuition to increase throughout the University of Wisconsin System.
  • "We eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit." The well-respected, nonpartisan LFB disagrees. And Wisconsin's long-term structural deficit is as big as it was in previous administrations.
  • "After years of tax increases, school property taxes actually went down because public employees now contribute to their health and pension benefits." Walker and his fellow Republicans cut a historic $800 million from K-12 education and capped the taxes that local districts could raise. As a result, districts lost an estimated 3,400 employees, class sizes became larger and next year's budgets will be even tighter. And contrary to Walker's claims, public employees have contributed to their benefits package in the form of deferred compensation, meaning that when they bargained for wages in the past, they chose to take less salary now so that they could draw a higher pension when they retire.
  • "Help me oppose the recall." Walker isn't opposing the recall. His campaign committee declined to challenge even one signature requesting his removal from office.


Heroes of the Week: Volunteer Center of Ozaukee County

Housed in the Family Enrichment Center (885 Badger Circle) in Grafton, the Volunteer Center of Ozaukee County matches individuals to volunteer opportunities with more than 60 nonprofit organizations.

Agencies served by the Volunteer Center work to alleviate homelessness and illiteracy, improve senior care and provide food and clothing to those in need. By publishing and promoting volunteer opportunities, the Volunteer Center increases the community's volunteer workforce and directly contributes to the productivity of nonprofit agencies who serve the community.

Readers who wish to match their skills and available time to one of many groups doing positive work in Ozaukee County are urged to visit www.volunteerozaukee.org or call 262-377-1616.