Fact Check: Walker's and Burke's television ads

By KBJR News 1

August 22, 2014 Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM CST

SUPERIOR, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) --- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Democratic challenger Mary Burke are verbally sparing with economic messages that are vastly inconsistent.

Four different television advertisements, by Gov. Walker and Burke paint Wisconsin's economy in two incredibly different lights.

The disagreement in Gov. Walker's and Burke's economic messages have caught the attention of political science professors, including Alisa Von Hagel at the University of Wisconsin Superior.

"Certainly the economy has grown under the Walker administration. There have been new jobs added," Von Hagel said.

That is true.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 100 thousand jobs were created in Wisconsin since Scott Walker was elected Governor.

But Von Hagel says what is hurting Walker's campaign is a promise he made to voters before his first term in office.

"Two hundred and fifty thousand new jobs by the end of our first term in office," Gov. Walker said in a 2010 ad, the year he was elected.

"He would have to add just under 30 thousand jobs over the next five months to reach his promise of 250 thousand jobs," Von Hagel said.

Experts say Walker's goal is virtually impossible to reach by the end of his first term.

Despite not reaching his jobs promise, Governor Walker is promoting an economic success story while tying Mary Burke to former Democratic governor Jim Doyle.

"She said I support Governor Doyle's policies entirely and when Doyle's term ended Wisconsin had lost 133 thousand jobs, then Scott Walker took over as governor and Wisconsin gained over 100 thousand jobs," said a pro Walker ad.

According to economists, that is not the whole story.

"Almost every state lost jobs when Doyle was governor because we went in a rather serious recession, so I'm not surprised he lost jobs," UMD Economist Rick Lichty said. "As we come out of the recession, part of what happens is the nation grows and the states participate in that growth, so I would expect Wisconsin to participate in that growth."

Von Hagel says the verdict in this fact check is the statistics in both Gov. Walker's and Burke's campaign ads are correct, as they use government employment statistics to prove their points.

But Von Hagel adds the two campaigns are cherry picking statistics that paint an incomplete picture of Wisconsin's economy.

Nick Minock
nminock@kbjr.com