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Evers’ top lies of 2019 

Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 2, 2020

By Bill Osmulski for MacIver News Service 

MADISON — Over the past 10 years, Wisconsinites have come to expect a lot from their governors in terms of integrity and consistency. 

Politifact investigated former Gov. Scott Walker almost 200 times during his eight years in office. It continues to check up on the Republican even today. 

The popular accountability website has some catching up to do with Gov. Tony Evers, who has only been fact checked four times during his first year on the job. Only one of those statements was found to be “Half True.” None of them was rated “True” or even “Mostly True.” Incredibly, Tony Evers, during his state government career (he previous served as secretary of the state Department of Public Instruction) has yet to have a challenged statement rated “True.” 

With a track record like that, it’s not surprising that the governor frequently made dubious statements in public throughout the year. Somehow, Politifact missed most of these; fortunately, the news cameras did not.

Here are Evers top 6 faulty statements of 2019. 

6. Making Up Gas Tax Hikes In Other States

During his budget address Gov. Evers called for a gas tax increase. As part of his justification for a gas tax in Wisconsin, he claimed Minnesota had just raised its state gas tax by 20 cents and Ohio raised it by 18 cents. At that time, those were only proposals in those states. Ohio eventually settled on a 10.5 cent gas tax hike and Minnesota rejected any increase.

5. Manufacturing Narratives

Gov. Evers told his Transportation Stakeholder Task Force that the DOT has a revenue problem and not a spending problem. He then told reporters that it was the task force that told him the DOT has a revenue problem not a spending problem.

Fortunately, MacIver New Service caught both speeches on video.

 

4. Who’s Got A Dictionary?

Sometimes objective truth is no match for the governor’s feelings. According to Webster’s Dictionary, “Infanticide” is defined as “the killing of an infant.” According to Evers, the definition of “Blasphemy” is saying doctors who kill infants commit infanticide.

3. “Pretty Much” No Tax Increases in Budget

Gov. Evers told reporters in March that his budget proposal “pretty much” wouldn’t raise taxes, even though it included $1.3 billion in tax hikes. His campaign pledge just days before the November 2018 election that he was not planning to raise taxes. His plan apparently changed. 

2. Who’s Running the Show?

Evers told reporters on Nov. 11 he would release his emails in compliance with the state’s open records law. Immediately after that, his staff told those reporters that’s not going to happen. Even after WITI-TV sued the governor for those records, his staff released only some of them. And so the lawsuit continues, and Evers remains silent.

1. Doing Time for a Baggie of Weed

At a press conference in the Capitol rotunda on Feb. 19, Evers said “we’re spending too much money prosecuting and incarcerating people, often people of color, for non-violent crimes related to possessing small amounts of marijuana.” But first-time possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Wisconsin and local government have the authority to determine how to punish possession of small amounts.

Even Politifact couldn’t ignore this claim, giving him a “Pants on Fire” rating. That didn’t keep him from continuing that false narrative. On May 1, he repeated the lie to the Milwaukee press club.

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