PolitiFact explores Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's statement to the recent GOP state convention that half Wisconsin residents are somewhere on the dole, and rates the claim "False:"
Here’s the bottom line:It's fascinating that career conservative politicians - - Fitzgerald, 47, has served in the Senate continuously since 1994 - - who enjoy comfy publicly-paid lifestyles and the related exercise of power can be counted on to routinely demagogue - - even falsely - - others who may also be receiving a public payment.
Fitzgerald made a bold statement at the state GOP convention -- that one out of every two Wisconsin residents "is on some kind of government handout." He was able to provide no evidence to back the claim, and even one of his aides essentially acknowledged it was wrong. The Senate leader later provided a different number, but the data he relied on is not specific to Wisconsin.
We rate Fitzgerald’s statement False.
It's a complete double-standard - - made even more intense with Fitzgerald brother Jeff serving as Assembly Speaker and Dad Stephen being recently appointed head of the Wisconsin State Patrol.
By the Walker administration, following Stephen Fitzgerald's defeat for election as a county sheriff.
Consider that in addition to a salary of just under $50,000 for a part-time, legislators like the Fitzgerald brothers receive:
* An $88-per-day meal, lodging and travel expense payment - - tax-free - - for every day they set foot in the Capitol. Show up just three days a week and you pocket more than $13,000 a year. (Legislators living close to the Capitol, like the Madison delegation, are eligible only for $44 per diem payments.)
* A separate mileage reimbursement for in-district travel.
* Home district office expenses of about $56,000 annually, on top of a State Capitol office and staff - - some of whom earn considerably more than the legislator for whom they work.
* A State Capitol parking spot.
* A state-paid cell phone.
* Access to generous health, life and income-continuation insurance, the state pension plan, and other benefits based on what employee unions had negotiated.
* Certain out-of-town travel, lodging, meals and meeting or conference fee reimbursements.
* Additionally, the Senate Majority and Minority leaders, as late as 2009, had access to separate $12,000 "leadership" expense funds, though I do not know if these perks are in place now.
All in all, not a bad deal for Scott Fitzgerald and the Fitzgerald clan, thus begging the question: who's on the dole?