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PolitiFact Wisconsin: Student loan debt and the state's proposed budget

TMJ4's Charles Benson breaks down claims by Assembly Republicans and a U.S. Senate candidate
Posted at 5:24 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 19:30:50-04

The state budget is loaded with politics these days and the 2022 U.S. Senate race is also getting the attention of PolitiFact Wisconsin.

Student loan debt is expected to be an issue in the U.S. Senate race next year. Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, a Democratic candidate for the seat, was tweeting about it while trying to make a point about the wealth gap.

"He made a claim in a tweet that said since 2010, student loan debt has gone up 102%. So that's more than doubled," said Greg Borowski with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "At the same time real wages, what people are being paid and their income, had fallen by 8%."

PolitiFact Wisconsin says Nelson flubbed the comparison. He's right about student debt, it has more than doubled the past decade to an overall total of $1.7 trillion.

"But he's way off on the wages side. Wages have not decreased - they've actually increased when you control for inflation. They've gone up by about 11.5% in that 10-year period," said Borowski.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this since-deleted tweet, Half True.

Wisconsin budget

Assembly Republicans are in the process of rewriting Gov. Tony Evers' proposed budget.

"We took a look at a claim by Assembly Republicans in Madison touting the fact that they had already removed more than $8 billion in spending from Gov. Tony Evers' proposed budget," said Borowski.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says hold on, this needs some clarification. Assembly Republicans did take some spending out of the budget, but revenue sources as well.

Plus, the state budget is still a work in progress.

"They're touting this as big savings, but that savings isn't really there yet because they're going to put some of their own priorities back in the budget, which will increase the spending as well," said Borowski.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim Mostly True.

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