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PolitiFact Wisconsin pulls out the calculator for claims by V.P. Harris and state Republicans

Posted at 5:44 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 18:44:16-04

Big spending and big budgets: Lots to look at in two key claims made by Vice President Kamala Harris and state Senate Republicans.

PolitiFact Wisconsin does the math for this week's Truth-O-Meter.

Vice President Harris was in town earlier this month talking about the Biden Administration's big proposal to boost infrastructure spending and increase the country's investment in research and development.

"She claimed that the American Jobs Plan, which is the big package that she and President Biden are advocating, would include the biggest non-defense investment in research and development in the history of the country," said Greg Borowski with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

PolitiFact Wisconsin had to dig back to 1964 to find the last big number on R & D investment by the government and found $11 billion in today's dollars had been spent on the Race to Space program.

The price tag for the Biden plan is $180 billion.

"The only caveat is that they haven't yet broken down that $180 billion to say exactly just what is research and development versus some other, manufacturing-related things," said Borowski.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim Mostly True.

Get out your calculator for this next claim.

"We also took a look at a claim by Senate Republicans in Madison who said that the governor's budget will reverse progress in the state, and return that budget to the deficit side of the ledger for the first time in many years," said Borowski.

This may be wonky but it has to do with GAAP accounting or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. PolitiFact Wisconsin says GAAP counts future expenditures at the time the state agrees to the spending - even though the bill isn't paid until the next budget cycle.

"The chart that the Republicans shared was right on the money," said Borowski, "that after years of being in the deficit, the last two-year budget cycle had a surplus by this measure, and as Gov. Evers budget was proposed, they would return it to a deficit.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim True.

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