Politifact: Pronounces Opposite Rulings On Basically Same Premise

This is just a little Sunday quickie related to two recent Politifact Wisconsin articles published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The first one rated Senator Chris Larson’s statement on the projected $1.8 billion shortfall in the as yet proposed 2015 – 2017 budget as FALSE.

On the day a Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau report made headlines that said the state faces a “shortfall” estimated at nearly $1.8 billion for its 2015-’17 budget, state Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson put a personal price tag on the news.

“Over the next two years,” the Milwaukee Democrat said in a Sept. 8, 2014 news release, “this $1.8 billion deficit will cost individual Wisconsinites $300 each, or $1,200 for families of four.”

We asked Larson’s staff for evidence that the estimated shortfall will cost individuals $300 and families of four $1,200 over the next two years.

A spokesman said the office simply divided the projected shortfall — $1.766 billion — by Wisconsin’s population — 5,742,712, as of a 2013 U.S. census estimate.

The result was $307 per person. And multiplying that by four, the figure was $1,230.

Now they ruled that False…but it’s something that ‘WE’ do all the time…make a simple overall statement using pretty basic math…it’s not meant to be totally accurate…just an easy to grasp explanation.

So what happens when the very next week, Governor Walker does something very similar? Using an average family of four? But instead of defining a loss to Wisconsinites, he is extolling his efforts to cut taxes? Well it goes sorta like this:

“Thanks to our reforms, the average family will have an extra $322 to spend.” — Scott Walker on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 in a campaign TV ad.

When we asked Walker spokesman Tom Evenson for back up for the $322 figure, he pointed to a series of income tax cuts and property tax relief policies enacted by Walker and GOP lawmakers.

Evensen said the figure is based on an “average family” as having four people and a median household income of $81,000. The time frame for the claimed savings, he said, is the 2014 tax year.

Well Governor Walker gets a MOSTLY TRUE…

Yes I know one is simple math and the other conjecture on simple assumptions…but they are basically defining economic metrics in layman’s terms…but neither is what Politifact seems to think they are.


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