Politics

Reality Check: Looking back at pledges in 2017 State of the State address

Reality Check: Looking back at...

MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Scott Walker is preparing to give his annual state of the state speech Wednesday night. 

News 3 took a look back at how many promises made in the 2017 address became reality. 

A key promise that the governor offered in the budget-year address was a proposal to cut tuition at University of Wisconsin System schools.

"I am pleased to announce that our 2017-2019 state budget will do more than just freeze tuition," Walker said.  "We will actually cut tuition for all Wisconsin undergraduates throughout the UW System."

This plan did not happen as the governor had hoped.  Walker proposed the idea in his state budget, but the idea never got traction in the Legislature.  The final budget froze tuition again for two years at UW System schools. 

The speech also made promises about taxes.

"Just as I promised when running for re-election, property and income taxes will be lower in 2018 than they were in 2010," Walker said. 

News 3 finds that income taxes are lower in 2018 because of the income tax cuts that were made in the governor's 2013 budget.  A plan for another income tax cut in the 2017-19 budget was nixed by the Legislature. 

Property taxes are lower too because the budget successfully eliminated the state's portion of the property tax, which had funded the forestry program. 

"We will also provide more money for state highway rehabilitation than ever before," Walker said in the address.  "We can do all of this and more without raising the gas tax or the vehicle registration fee."

While Walker did not allow a gas tax increase, the budget he signed did create a new registration fee for hybrid and electric cars.

As for the highway rehabilitation funds, the governor proposed a small increase that would have made it the largest amount spent for that purpose.  

Once again the Legislature made changes to his plan.  The final budget Walker signed reduced spending on roads by about 4.6 percent. 

Walker also used the speech to propose more funding for education.

"Our budget will include a significant increase for public schools," the governor said.  "We will also help rural schools that have unique challenges such as transportation costs, broadband access and declining enrollment."

The budget that was passed included a $639 million increase for schools, and while lawmakers added a specific provision to help rural schools with sparcity aid, Walker vetoed that measure.  He's now championing a new version of that plan authored by Republican lawmakers. 

If you have an idea for a Reality Check, send it to us at realitycheck@channel3000.com. 


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