Reality Check: Walker continues Doyle/Burke connection attack

Reality Check: Walker continues Doyle/Burke connection attack

Gov. Scott Walker is blaming Democrat Mary Burke for a cash register full of tax increases in one of his latest ads in the gubernatorial race.

The continuing theme of his campaign finds him trying to connect the dots between Doyle administration proposals and his challenger.

“As part of Jim Doyle’s administration, Mary Burke supported raising taxes from cradle to grave,” the announcer says in the ad.

News 3 finds this needs clarification.

Burke was the secretary of commerce from February 2005 to November 2007, which was two budget cycles. In 2005, shortly after taking the position, she told an interviewer she supported Doyle’s policies, but wasn’t questioned specifically about her position on any of the things you’ll hear later in this ad.

The spot also says she supported raising taxes, but the items mentioned in the ad are largely fees, and those two things are different. The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says a tax is unavoidable, but a fee to some degree is discretionary.

“Burke supported raising taxes from cradle to grave, on birth certificates, day care, driver’s licenses, gas, tuition, property, garbage, nursing home beds and even burial fees,” the announcer says in the ad.

News 3 finds a number of these things need clarification.

Fees did go up to get a birth certificate (+$8) and a driver’s license (+$10). Licensing fees went up per child at day care centers (+$1.86 per child), burial fees went up at veterans’ cemeteries for spouses and children of veterans (+$185), fees on hauling garbage went up (+$1/ton) and University of Wisconsin tuition went up 2.1 percent.

Fees on nursing home beds were proposed but did not pass until 2009. A tax increase on oil companies some said would bump up the gas tax didn’t pass either.

On the property tax, local governments set property tax bills and the state can only impose limits, which Doyle did from 2005-2007.

But you should know that none of these fee increases listed here were made in the Department of Commerce, nor were they proposed by Burke herself.

“Despite supporting billions of dollars in tax increases, the Doyle/Burke administration left Wisconsin with a massive deficit,” the announcer says in the ad.

News 3 find this also needs clarification.

When Burke left the Department of Commerce in 2007, the state was still in the black. The deficit under Doyle grew after the Great Recession hit in 2008 and Doyle left office in 2010.

If you have an idea for a Reality Check, send it to us at