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Burke releases job plan, governor defends record

By Jessica Arp, jarp@wisctv.com
Published On: Mar 25 2014 06:41:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 25 2014 09:16:36 PM CDT

Mary Burke said she has a plan to create jobs in Wisconsin, but the Democratic candidate for governor isn't committing to a specific number.

MILWAUKEE -

Mary Burke said she has a plan to create jobs in Wisconsin, but the Democratic candidate for governor isn't committing to a specific number.

Burke was the headliner Tuesday at a question-and-answer session at Marquette University. She said her goal is to make Wisconsin a top-10 economy, but she declined to forecast how many people would get jobs under her latest job-creation plan.

She said she'd define a top-10 economy according to rankings of job creation.

"You have to take into account how the economy in the nation as a whole is growing and that's why I compare it and say a top 10 thriving economy [is our benchmark] because it takes into account how the economy overall in the U.S. is growing," Burke said. "That is a goal. It is a very specific goal."

She also went on the attack against Gov Scott Walker, bringing up and criticizing his 2010 job plan.

"This is four pages," Burke said. "I've seen eighth-grade term papers that frankly have more work put into them."

Burke's plan emphasizes "industry clusters" and would boost venture capital spending to $120 million over four years.

Walker's campaign said Burke's plan simply copies Walker's most successful tactics.

At an event in Fall River Tuesday, the governor reaffirmed that.

"Actions speak louder than words," Walker said. "Whether it's with agriculture, manufacturing, clean water technology, bio sciences, that is all things we focused on not just with individual employers, but we've been doing that over the last three years."

Walker had pledged to add 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of this year. That mark now appears unlikely, but Walker said he's committed to the goal and thinks it may be accomplished in the first few months of 2015.

Walker also dismissed Burke's criticism.

"That's what somebody is going to say if they were a part of an administration that lost 133,000 jobs and 27,000 businesses," Walker said when told of Burke's comments Tuesday. "You can call names, but I'm not going to get into name-calling. I'm going to talk about results."

The job plan rollout comes the day after Walker signed his tax cut into law.

Marquette Law School Professor Charles Franklin was on hand for Tuesday's event. He said the competing plans will give voters more to think about.

"I think what it represents is the beginning of the serious discussion of policy issues," Franklin said. "We've got a long way to go toward November and as the campaigns become more specific and start to debate more specific issues, I think that enriches the discussion altogether."

Franklin will have a Marquette Law School poll out with new numbers in the governor's race Wednesday.

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