Rachel Maddow is in trouble with Politifact again.
On Thursday’s show Maddow jumped on the bandwagon of those accusing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of essentially faking the budget crisis there to give him an excuse to cut the benefits of state employees and take away their bargaining rights.
“Despite what you may have heard about Wisconsin’s finances, the state is on track to have a budget surplus this year…I am not kidding.”
Maddow cited as her source a Jan. 31, 2011 memo by Robert Lang, the director of the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Something about this memo apparently smelled fishy to the folks at Politifact because they quickly dug up the memo and read if for themselves.
Conclusion: Maddow (and others!) are wrong.
There is, indeed, a projected deficit that required attention, and Walker and GOP lawmakers did not create it….The confusion, it appears, stems from a section in Lang’s memo that — read on its own — does project a $121 million surplus in the state’s general fund as of June 30, 2011.
But the remainder of the routine memo — consider it the fine print — outlines $258 million in unpaid bills or expected shortfalls in programs such as Medicaid services for the needy ($174 million alone), the public defender’s office and corrections. Additionally, the state owes Minnesota $58.7 million under a discontinued tax reciprocity deal.
The result, by our maths and Lang’s, is the $137 million shortfall.
Always read the fine print.
You can read Politifacts full explanation here.
As noted, this is Maddow’s second appearance on Politifact’s ‘False’ list. Perhaps she should consider hiring one the them to join her research team.
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